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Full text of "The works of Edgar Allan Poe, including the choicest of his critical essays"

THE WORKS 

OF 

EDGAR ALLAN POE 



w 





THE WORKS 

OF 

EDGAR ALLAN POE 

INCLUDING THE 

CHOICEST OF HIS CRITICAL ESSAYS. 

NOW FIRST PUBLISHED IN THIS COUNTRY. 




Foe s Cottage at Fordkam. 



WITH 



A STUDY ON HIS LIFE AND WRITINGS, 

FROM THE FRENCH OF 

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE. 



SKETCHES OF POE S SCHOOL NEAR LONDON, NOW FIRST IDENTIFIED, 
PORTRAITS AND F AC-SIMILES. 



5E/onDon : 
CHATTO AND WINDUS, PUBLISHERS. 

(SUCCESSORS TO JOHN CAM DEN HOTTEN.) 



PRELIMINARY, 

| HE present edition of the Works of Edgar Allan Poe is 
more complete than any yet published in this country. 
It not only gives the whole of the poems and stories 
which have been left us by this fine genius, but it also contains 
some critical essays which will be new to English readers. 

It is well known that Poe spent some years of his life in a 
school at Stoke Newington, near London,* but neither his 
biographers nor any of the pilgrims his admirers who visit 
this quiet Quaker suburb in memory of the poet, have ever been 
able to identify " the quaint old house with Elizabethan gables" 
which he describes in one of his " Tales of Mystery." By a 
fortunate circumstance the publisher of the present volume 
stumbled upon an abstract of the leases granted by the Lord 
of the Manor sixty years since, and amongst the entries is : 

" The Eev. John Bransly of the School in Church 
Street, and Ground in Edward s Lane, 21 years 
lease with 10 additional, expires 25 March, Yearly Rent 
1837." 55 

As " Bransby" was the name mentioned by Poe, this gave the 
clue at once, and the house was soon identified, but not as 
having " Elizabethan gables," described in the story partly 
autobiographical of " William Wilson." The actual house is 
a roomy old structure of Queen Anne s time, and remains inter 
nally in very nearly the same state as when the poet was there. 
It is still a school, at present under the care of a Mr. Dod; and 

* Poe came to England with his adopted parents, Mr. and Mrs. Allan, 
of Baltimore. They paid a lengthened visit to the old country, being 
concerned in the disposal of some property here. 

M611779 



iv PRELIMINARY. 

although the thirteen acres of play -ground which existed in Poe s 
time have long since been parcelled out to other tenements, or 
have been built upon, we were fortunate in being able to secure 
a good sketch of the house, together with a drawing made 
whilst Poe was at the school of the ancient manor gateway, 
formerly a conspicuous object in the ground. The acres were 
fenced in by a high and solid brick wall, topped with a bed of 
mortar and broken glass. This prison-like rampart formed the 
limit of the domain; the scholars saw beyond it but thrice a- 
week once every Saturday afternoon, when, attended by two 
tutors, they were permitted to take brief walks in a body 
through some of the neighbouring fields; and twice during 
Sunday, when they were paraded in the same formal manner 
to the morning and evening service in the one church of the 
village. 

The portrait of Poe s schoolmaster, which we also give, is 
interesting when taken in connection with the poet s graphic 
description of the venerable clergyman in " William Wilson." 
" Dr. Bransby," as Poe styles him, was the lecturer of the parish 
church, and his pupils were wont to regard him with wonder 
and perplexity from their remote pew in the gallery, as, with 
step solemn and slow, he ascended the pulpit. That reverend 
man, with countenance so demurely benign, with robes so glossy 
and so clerically flowing, with wig so minutely powdered, so 
rigid and so vast could that be he who of late, with sour 
visage and in snuffy habiliments, administered, ferule in hand, 
the Draconian laws of the academy? 

A word may be said about Poe s portrait. It is taken from 
a likeness which he gave to a friend a short time before his 
decease, and is considered by those who remember the poet 
an excellent representation of him when living. 

J. C. H. 

PICCADILLY, 

26 Oct., 1872, 



CONTENTS. 



EDGAR ALLAN" POE : HIS LIFE AND WORKS, FROM THE FRENCH 
OP CHARLES BAUDELAIRE .... 



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS. 

THE BAVEN - . . . .25 

LENORE . - . . . - 28 
HYMN ...... 29 

A VALENTINE - - - - 29 

THE COLISEUM - - - . ; 30 

To HELEN - - - . . * 31 

To . . . -. 33 

ULALUME - - . 34 

THE BELLS - - 36 

AN ENIGMA - 39 

ANNABEL LEE - - - 40 

To MY MOTHER - . 41 

THE HAUNTED PALACE - - ."* 41 

THE CONQUEROR WORM . - . . .43 

To P s. S. D. - - - - . 44 

To ONE IN PARADISE .... 44 

THE VALLEY OF UNREST - - - . 45 

THE CITY IN THE SEA - - 46 

THE SLEEPER - , -, - 47 

SILENCE . . . . 49 



vl CONTENTS. 

A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM .... 

DREAM-LAND ... 

To ZANTE - . 

EULALIE - - 

ELDORADO - 

ISRAFEL 

FOR ANNIE - - 

To - . . 

BRIDAL BALLAD ..... 

To F ...... 

SCENES FROM "POLITIAN" .... 

POEMS WPJTTEN IN YOUTH. 

SONNET To SCIENCE - 

AL AARAAF - 

To THE RIVER ... 

TAMERLANE .... 

To - . . 

A DREAM - - - 

ROMANCE - . . 

FAIRY-LAND - .... 

THE LAKE To 

SONG - - - . v 

To M. L. S. - 

TALES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION. 

THE GOLD BUG . - - 105 

THE FACTS IN THE CASE or M. VALDEMAR - - 138 

MS. FOUND IN A BOTTLE ; . . 147 

A DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM ... 157 

THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE - - - 172 

THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET - - - - 204 

THE PURLOINED LETTER . ^848 

THE BLACK CAT - - - -266 

THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH - - - 275 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 



THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO - 280 

THE OVAL PORTRAIT - .... 287 

THE ASSIGNATION . 290 

* THE TELL-TALE HEART - . . . 300 

-/WILLIAM WILSON - - .-, . . 305 

BERENICE . . . . 324 

ELEONORA - - - . " - 331 

LIGEIA . . . - 337 

SHADOW. A PARABLE - . . - 351 

SILENCE. A FABLE - ... 354 

A TALE OF THE RAGGED MOUNTAINS - - 357 

KING PEST - - - - 367 

THE MAN OF THE CROWD - 378 

." THOU ART THE MAN "- .... 36 



HUMOROUS TALES AND SKETCHES. 

THE SPECTACLES . 403 

THE Due DE L OMELETTE - - 425 

LIONIZING - 429 

NEVER BET THE DEVIL YOUR HEAD . 434 

SOME WORDS WITH A MUMMY - - 443 

WHY THE LITTLE FRENCHMAN WEARS HIS HAND IN A SLING 458 

THE LITERARY LIFE OF THINGUM BOB, ESQ. - - 463 

How TO WRITE A "BLACKWOOD" ARTICLE * 480 

X-ING A PARAGRAB - - 489 

DIDDLING CONSIDERED AS ONE OF THE EXACT SCIENCES - 495 

THE ANGEL OF THE ODD - - 505 

MELLONTA TAUTA 514 

THE MAN THAT WAS USED UP - 526 

THE BUSINESS MAN - - : - - - - 536 



CRITICAL ESSAYS. 

ELIZABETH BARRETT BARRETT (MRS. BROWNING) - 547 

R. H. HORNE - - 569 

THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY .... 588 



viii CONTENTS. 

PAflB 

CHARLES LEVER - . . -591 

CHARLES DICKENS . . . 600 

LONGFELLOW S BALLADS - k V . . . 617 

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE . . - . 628 

THE POETIC PRINCIPLE - . ... 641 

THE PHILOSOPHY or COMPOSITION ... 660 

PHILOSOPHY or FURNITURE . . . . 671 



EDGAR ALLAN POE: 

HIS LIFE AND WORKS, 

FROM THE FRENCH OF 

CHARLES BAUDELAIRE.* 

" Unhappy Master, whom unmerciful Disaster 
Followed fast, and followed faster, till his songs one burdeu bore 
U-ill the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore 
Of Never nevermore ! " 

The Raven. 

I. 

| OT long ago, there was brought before one of our tribunals 
a criminal whose forehead was tattooed with the singu 
larly strange device Never a, chance. Thus as a book 
bears its title, he carried above his eyes the etiquette-law of his 
life, and the cross-examination proved this curious writing to be 
cruelly veracious. There are, in the history of literature, many 
analogous destinies of actual damnation, many men who bear 
the word Luckless written in mysterious characters in the sinuous 
folds of their foreheads. The blind angel of Expiation hovers for 
ever around them, punishing them with rods for the edifica 
tion of others. It is in vain that their lives exhibit talents, 
virtues or graces. Society has for them a special anathema, ac 
cusing them even of those infirmities which its own persecutions 
have generated. What would Hoffmann not have done to dis 
arm Destiny 1 what Balzac not attempted to compel Fortune 1 
Does there, then, exist some diabolic Providence which prepares 
misery from the cradle ; which throws, and throws with premedi 
tation, these spiritual and angelic natures into hostile ranks, as 
martyrs were once hurled into the arena 1 Can there, then, be holy 
souls destined to the sacrificial altar, compelled to march to death 
and glory across the very ruins of their lives 1 Will the nightmare 
of gloom eternally besiege these chosen souls I Vainly they may 

* Translated by H. Curwen. 



2 EDGAR ALLAN POE, 

struggle, vainly conform themselves to the world, to its foresight, 
to its cunning ; let them grow perfect in prudence, batten up every 
entry, nail down every window, against the shafts of Fate ; still 
the Demon will enter by a key-hole ; some fault will arise from 
the very perfection of their breastplate ; some superlative quality 
will be the germ of their damnation : 

" L aigle, pour le briser, du haut du firmament, 
Sur leur front decouvert lachera la tortue, 
Car ils doivent perir in^vetablement." 

Their destiny is written in their very constitution ; sparkling with 
a sinister brilliancy in their looks and in their gestures ; circulat 
ing through their arteries in every globule of their blood. 

A famous author of our time has written a book to prove that 
the poet can find a happy home neither in democratic nor aristo 
cratic society not a whit the more in a republic than in a monarchy, 
absolute or limited and who was able peremptorily to reply to 
him"? I bring to-day a new legend to support his theory; to-day, 
I add a new saint to the holy army of martyrs, for I have to write 
the history of one of those illustrious unfortunates, over- rich, with 
poetry and passion, who came after so many others, to serve ia 
this dull wor]d the rude apprenticeship of genius among inferior 
souls. 

A lamentable tragedy this Life of Edgar Poe ! His death a 
horrible unravelling of the drama, where horror is besmutched 
with trivialities ! All the documents I have studied strengthen 
me in the conviction that the United States was for Poe only a 
vast prison through which he ran, hither and thither, with the 
feverish agitation of a being created to breathe in a purer world - 
only a wild barbarous country barbarous and gas-lit and that 
his interior life, spiritual as a poet, spiritual even as a drunkard, 
was but one perpetual effort to escape the influence of this anti 
pathetical atmosphere. There is no more pitiless dictator than 
that of " Public Opinion " in democratic societies ; beseech it not 
for charity, nor indulgence, nor any elasticity whatsoever, in the 
application of its laws to the varied and complex cases of moral 
, life. We might say that from the impious love of liberty has been 
born a new tyranny the tyranny of fools which, in its insensible 
ferocity, resembles the idol of Juggernaut. One biographer tells 
us gravely, and with the best possible intention in the world, that 



B Y CHARLES BA UDELAIRE. 3 

Poe, if he had willed to regulate his genius, to apply his creative 
faculties in a manner more appropriate to the American soil, 
might have become a money-making author ; another an out 
spoken cynic this that beautiful as Poe s genius was, it would 
have been better for him to have possessed only talent, since talent 
can pile up a banker s balance much more readily than genius ; a 
third, a friend of the poet, a man who has edited many reviews 
and journals, confesses that it was difficult to employ Poe, and 
that he was compelled to pay him less than the others, because he 
wrote in a style too far removed from the vulgar. How this 
" savours of the shop," as Joseph de Maistre would say. 

Some have even dared more, and, uniting the dullest unintelli- 
gence of his genius to the ferocity of the hypocritical trading-class, 
insulted him to the uttermost, after his untimely end, rudely 
hectoring his poor speechless corpse ; particularly Mr. Rufus 
Griswold, who, to quote here George Graham s vengeful saying, 
then " committed an immortal infamy." Poe, feeling, perhaps, the 
sinister foreboding of a sudden death, had nominated Griswold 
and Willis as his literary executors, to set his papers in order, to 
write his life and to restore his memory. The first the pedagogue 
vampire has defamed his friend at full length in an enormous 
article wearisome and crammed with hatred which was prefixed 
to the posthumous edition of Poe s works ; are there then no 
regulations in America to keep the curs out of the cemeteries ? 
Mr. Willis, however, has proved, on the contrary, that kindliness 
and respect go hand in hand with true wit, and that charity, 
which is ever a moral duty, is also one of the dictates of good taste. 
. Talk of Poe with an American he will, perhaps, confess his 
genius, perhaps even show a personal pride in it ; but, with that 
sardonic superiority which betokens your positive man, he will 
tell you of the poet s disordered life ; of his alcoholized breath, 
ready to have taken light at any candle-flame ; of his vagabond 
habits ; he will reiterate that the poet was an erratic and strange 
being, an orbit-less planet, rolling incessantly from Baltimore 
to New York, from New York to Philadelphia, from Phila 
delphia to Boston, from Boston to Baltimore, from Baltimore to 
Richmond; and, if deeply moved by these preludes of a grievous 
history, you try to make him understand that the individual was 
not alone blameworthy, that it must have been difficult to write 
or think at ease in a country where jliere are a million sovereigns, 

12 



4 EDGAR ALLAN POE, 

a country without, strictly speaking, a metropolis, and without an 
aristocracy, his eyes will open fiercely, and, sparkling with rage, 
drivel of suffering patriotism will foam to his lips, and America, 
by his mouth, will hurl curses at its old mother, Europe, and at 
the philosophy of ancient days. 

I repeat once more my firm conviction that Edgar Poe and his 
country were never upon a level. The United States is a gigantic 
and infantine country, not unnaturally jealous of the old conti 
nent. Proud of its material development, abnormal and almost 
monstrous, this new comer into history has a naive faith in the all- 
powerfulness of industry, being firmly convinced, moreover, like 
some unfortunates among ourselves, that it will finish by devour 
ing the devil himself. Time and money are there held in such 
extraordinary esteem ; material activity, exaggerated almost to 
the proportions of a national mania, leaves room in their minds 
for little that is not of the earth. Poe, who came of a good 
race, and who, moreover, declared the great misfortune of his 
country to be its lack of an aristocracy, expected, as he often argued, 
that in a nation without an aristocracy, the worship of the beauti 
ful would but corrupt itself, lessen and disappear ; who accused 
his fellow-citizens, in their emphatic and costly luxury, of all the 
symptoms of bad taste that characterize the parvenu ; who con 
sidered Progress, the grand idea of modern times, as the ecstasy of 
silly idlers, and who styled the modern perfection of the human 
dwelling an eyesore and a rectangular abomination ; Poe, I say, 
was there a singularly solitary brain. Believing only in the im 
mutablein the eternity of nature, he enjoyed a cruel privilege 
truly in a society amorous of itself the grand common-sense of 
Machiavelli, who marches before the student like a column of fire 
across the deserts of history. What would he have written, what 
have thought, if he had heard the sentimental theologian, out of 
love for the human race, suppress hell itself ; the rag-shop 
philosopher propose an insurance company to put an end to 
wars by the subscription of a half-penny per head ; the abolition 
of capital punishment and orthography, those two correlative follies, 
and a host of sick persons writing, with the ear even close to the 
belly, fantastic grumblings as flatulent as the element which 
dictated them 1 If you add to this impeccable vision of the True, 
an actual infirmity under certain circumstances, and exquisite 
delicacy of taste, revolting from everything out of exact proportion, 



BY CHARLES BAUDELAIRE. 5 

an insatiate love for the beautiful, which had assumed the power 
of a morbid passion, you altogether cease to be astonished that 
to such a man life had become a hell, that such a life speedily 
arrived at an untimely end nay, you will admire his enthusiasm 
for bearing with it for so long a time. 

II. 

The family of Poe was one of the most respectable in Baltimore. 
His maternal grandfather had served as a quartermaster-general 
in the war of independence, and had gained the friendship and high 
esteem of La Fayette, who, during his last journey through the 
States, had specially sought out the general s widow, to express his 
gratitude for the services her husband had rendered. His great 
grandfather had married the daughter of the English admiral, 
MacBride, who was allied with the noblest English houses. David 
Poe, the general s son and Edgar s father, falling violently in love 
with an English actress, Elizabeth Arnold, then famous for her 
beauty, ran away with her and married her, and, to bring their 
destinies still more intimately together, took to the stage, appear 
ing with his wife on the boards of the different theatres in the chief 
towns of the Union. The young couple died at Richmond almost 
at the same time, leaving three little children, the youngest of 
whom was Edgar, in the most helpless and abandoned condition. 

Edgar Poe was born at Baltimore, in the year 1813, I give this 
date upon his own authority, for his writings protest against the 
statement of Griswold, who places the birth in 1811. If ever, to 
borrow an expression from our poet, the " Spirit of Eomance," a 
spirit sinister and stormy presided at a birth, it was certainly at 
his. Poe was the veritable offspring of passion and adventure. 
Mr. Allan, a wealthy merchant, took a great fancy to the unfor 
tunate little lad, whom nature had dowered with a charming man 
ner, and, being childless, adopted him as a son, to be henceforth 
known as Edgar Allan Poe. He was thus brought up in happy 
circumstances, and in the legitimate hope of succeeding to one of 
those fortunes which give a lofty altitude to the character. He 
accompanied his adopted parents upon a journey through England, 
Scotland and Ireland, but before returning to their native country, 
they entrusted him to the care of Dr. Bransby, who kept a school 
of some importance at Stoke-Newington, a northern suburb of 
London. Poe has himself, in William Wilson, described this 



6 EDGAR ALLAN POE, 

quaint old house, with its Elizabethan gables, and all his schoolboy 
impressions. 

He returned to Richmond in 1822, and continued his studies in 
America under the best masters of the neighbourhood. At the 
University of Charlottesville, which he entered in 1825, he dis 
tinguished himself, not only by an intelligence quasi-miraculous, 
but also by a sinister abundance of passions a precocity truly 
American which was finally the cause of his expulsion. We must 
note in passing that Poe had akeady at Charlottesville manifested 
the most remarkable aptitude for the physical and mathematical 
sciences. Later on he made a frequent use of these in his strange 
stories, drawing from them resources altogether unexpected. But 
I have reason to believe that it was not to this order of composi 
tions that he attached the most importance, and that perhaps on 
account of this precocious aptitude he was not far from consider 
ing them as facile juggleries, when compared with works of pure 
imagination. Some unfortunate gaming debts led to a temporary 
coolness on the part of his adopted father, and Edgar a very 
curious fact, and one proving, say what they will, a strong dose of 
chivalry in his impressionable brain conceived the project of 
aiding the Greeks in their struggle against the tyranny of the 
Turks. What became of him in the East, what he did there, 
whether he ever really had a chance of studying the classic borders 
of the Mediterranean, why he was found at St. Petersburgh, without 
a passport, and, politically comprised, compelled to appeal to the 
American ambassador to escape the penalty of the Russian laws, 
and for aid to return home all this is still a mystery : we know 
nothing of it : this is a void which he alone could have filled up. 
Edgar Poe s life, his youth, his adventures in Russia, and his 
correspondence have for long been announced in the American 
journals, but have not yet appeared. 

Returning to America in 1829 he expressed a wish to enter the 
military college at West Point; he was, in fact, admitted, and there, 
as elsewhere, he gave signs of an intelligence admirably endowed, 
but at the same time undisciplined : and, at the end of some few 
months, he was dismissed. At this moment an event occurred in 
his adopted family which had the gravest consequence upon the 
whole of his after life. Mrs. Allan, for whom he felt a truly filial 
affection, died, and Mr. Allan married a lady of extreme youth. A 
domestic quarrel thereupon took place, into which I cannot enter, 



B Y CHAKLES BA UDELAIRE. 7 

since it has been clearly explained by no one of his biographers. 
There is, however, no ground for astonishment that he was hence 
forth definitely separated from Mr. Allan, who, having children by 
his second marriage, completely cut off all hopes of succeeding to 
his fortune. 

Shortly after quitting Richmond Poe had published a small 
volume of poems ; this was, indeed, a brilliant first attempt. For 
all who could feel and appreciate English poetry, there was already 
that extra-terrestrial accent, that calmness of melancholy, that de 
licious solemnity, which characterizes the master-singers. 

Misery now for some time made him a soldier, and it is to be 
presumed that he employed the dull leisure of a garrison life in 
preparing materials for his future compositions weird compo 
sitions they are, which seem to have been created to show that 
weirdness is an integral part of the beautiful. Soon embarking in 
a literary career, where alone beings of a certain order are able to 
breathe, Poe would have died of extreme misery, but for a lucky 
chance which gave him the opportunity of bread-earning. The 
proprietor of a small magazine announced two prizes one for the 
best story, the other for the best poem, h singularly clear and 
beautiful handwriting attracted the attention of a Mr. Kennedy, 
who presided over the committee of selection, and inspired him 
with the desire of personally examining the manuscripts. He de 
clared at once that Poe had gained both the prizes, but one only 
was allotted to him. The president was anxious to see the unknown 
author, and the editor of the magazine introduced him to a young 
man of striking beauty, dressed in rags and a tattered coat, but 
toned to the chin, possessing the air of a true gentleman, looking 
at once haughty, and very hungry. Kennedy kindly did what lay 
in his power, introducing him to the notice of Mr. Thomas White 
who had founded the Southern Literary Messenger at Richmond, 
White was a man of audacious literary enterprise, but without any 
literary talent whatever. Poe soon became essential as an assist 
ant, and, at the age of two-and-twenty, found himself the editor of 
a review, the entire destinies of which depended upon his personal 
efforts. He speedily established its prosperity, and many years 
afterwards the Southern Literary Messenger acknowledged that to 
this eccentric outcast, to this incorrigible drunkard, its numerous 
sub?cribers and its profitable notoriety were mainly due. In this 
journal many of the stones which are hereafter presented to our 



8 EDGAR ALLAN POE, 

readers, made their first appearance. For nearly two years Poe, 
with a marvellous ardour, astonished his public by series of com 
positions of a kind altogether novel, and by critical articles, the 
vivacity, the terseness, the severe reasoning of which were admirably 
adapted to enforce attention. Other articles discussed literature 
in its every branch, and the young writer s thorough and broad 
education now stood him in good stead. It is worth our while to 
learn, that for these important duties, this indefatigable labour, he 
received five hundred dollars, that is about one hundred and eight 
pounds sterling, per annum. " Immediately? says Griswold, as if he 
meant to convey, " Believing himself now rich enough the young 
fool!" he married a young lady, beautiful, charming, and of an 
heroic nature, but without a farthing, adds this same Griswold 
with a sneer of disdain. The young lady was his cousin, Virginia 
Clernm. 

In spite of the services rendered to his journal, White quarrelled 
with his editor before two years had elapsed. The reason of their 
separation is evidently to be found in the attacks of hypochondria, 
and the fitful outbursts of intoxication, to which the poet was sub 
jectcharacteristic incidents which darkened his spiritual sky, like 
those gloomy clouds which suddenly give to the most romantic 
landscape an air of melancholy apparently irreparable. Hencefor 
ward we watch the unfortunate poet striking his tent, like a 
nomad of the desert, and, carrying his light penates hither and 
thither through the principal cities of the union. Everywhere, in 
a brilliant manner, he edited reviews, or contributed to them, 
scattering broadcast, with a miraculous rapidity, critical and philo 
sophical articles, and stories teeming with a magic beauty, which 
appeared in a collected form, under the title of Tales of the Gro 
tesque and Arabesque a remarkable and intentional title, for 
arabesque and grotesque ornamentation repulses the human figure ; 
and we shall see that, in most respects, the works of Poe are extra, 
or superhuman. We learn next, by scandalous paragraphs cruelly 
inserted in the papers, that Poe and his wife, in a state of utter 
destitution, were taken dangerously ill at Fordham. Here his de 
voted wife died, and shortly after her death the poet experienced 
his first attack of delirium tremens. A new paragraph suddenly 
appeared in one of the papers in that one which was bitterest 
against him which, condemning his contempt of the world, and 
his disgust for it, made one of those sidling attacks upon his charac- 



BY CHARLES BAUDELAIRE. 

ter on the part of public opinion, against which he had always to de 
fend himself of all the sterilely fatiguing struggles the most sterile. 

He now, doubtless, did gain money, almost enough to support 
life ; but I have proofs that he had always the most discouraging* 
difficulties to surmount. At this time he dreamt, like so many 
other writers, of starting a review for himself of being, as it were, 
at home ; and indeed he had suffered sufficiently to justify an 
ardent desire for a definite haven for his thoughts. To arrive at 
this end, to procure a sufficient sum of money, he had recourse to 
lecturing a branch of speculation which the college of France has 
put in the power of all literary men, the author publishing his 
lecture only after he has first derived all possible prior benefits. 
Poe had already given at New York a lecture called Eureka his 
cosmogenic poem, which had even originated a stormy discussion. 
He now determined to lecture in his own country Virginia, ex 
pecting, as he wrote Willis, to make a circuit in the east and south, 
where he trusted to the support of his literary friends, and of his 
old fellow-students at Charlottesville and West Point. He visited 
in turn the principal towns of Virginia ; and the people of Pdchmond 
again saw him whom they had known formerly as so young, so 
poor, so forlorn. Now he appeared handsome, elegant, correct as 
genius itself. I even believe that for some time he had pushed his 
condescension so far as to join a temperance society. He chose a 
theme as large as it was elevated The Principles of Poetry, and 
he developed it with that lucidity which was one of his privileges. 
He believed the true poet that he was that the aim of poetry is 
of the same nature as its principle that it ought never to have in 
view anything but itself. 

The happy reception with which he was welcomed, flooded his 
poor heart with pride and joy ; he showed himself so enchanted 
with it that he even talked of definitely establishing himself at 
Richmond, and ending his days in the spot which childhood had 
rendered dear to him. However, he had business at New York, 
and he started on the 4th October, complaining of weakness and 
shiverings. Feeling himself worse on arriving at Baltimore at six 
in the evening, he caused his luggage to be moved to the station 
from which he meant to leave for Philadelphia, and then entered a 
tavern to take some exciting stimulant. There, unfortunately, he 
came across old acquaintances, and stopped late. On the following 
morning in the pale shadows of the early day, a corpse was found, 



id EDGAR ALLAN P0, 

upon the high-way a corpse with life still stirring within it, but 
marked already with the royal stamp of death. On this body, 
which was recognized by none, were found neither papers nor 
t.money. They bore it straightway to the hospital, and there died 
Edgar Poe, on the evening of Sunday, the 7th October, 1849, at the 
age of thirty-seven, conquered by delirium tremens, the terrible 
guest who had haunted his brain once or twice previously. Thus 
disappeared from this world one of our greatest literary heroes, 
the man of genius who in the Black Cat had written these pro 
phetic words : " What disease is like Alcohol !" 

This death was almost a suicide a suicide prepared from an 
early period ; at all events it caused all the scandal of one. The 
clamour of the public was deafening, and virtue gave full utterance 
to her emphatic cant, freely and voluptuously. The more indul 
gent funeral orations could only give way to that inevitable trades 
folk morality, which was careful not to neglect so admirable an 
opportunity. Mr. Griswold defamed sternly ; Mr. Willis, sincerely 
afflicted, was more than befitted the occasion. Alas, and alas ! he 
who had stormed the most arduous heights of the aesthetic, who 
had plunged into the least explored depths of the human intellect, 
who, across a life resembling a tempest where no hopes of calm 
came ever, had discovered new means and ways unknown to dazzle 
the imagination, to charm all minds thirsting for the beautiful, bad 
just a few hours since died in the wards of a hospital what a 
destiny ! So much grandeur, so great a misery, to raise a whirlwind 
of commonplace moralities, to become the food and the theme of 
virtuous journalists : 

Ut dedamatio jias. 

These spectacles are in no wise novel ; rarely, indeed, is the 
funeral of a young and illustrious artist aught else than a meeting- 
ground for scandals. Society, moreover, bears no love to their 
despairing unfortunates, and whether it be that they trouble her 
feast-days, or that she innocently looks upon them as so many 
remorses, society is incontestably right. Who cannot recall the 
declamations of all Paris at the death of Balzac, who nevertheless 
died with due propriety. And more recently still just one year 
back from the day I pen these lines when a writer virtuous above 
suspicion, endowed with the loftiest intelligence, and unlike this 
other, always admirably lucid, went discreetly without disturbing 
a single being so discreetly, indeed, that his discretion resembled 



Y CHARLES BA UDELAIRE. i j 

contempt to set his soul free in the blackest alley he could find 
what nauseous homilies were there what refined assassinations ! 
One celebrated journalist, to whom Jesus shall never teach a 
generous manner, found the adventure lively enough to be cele 
brated in the grossest jest. Among the many enumerations of the 
Rights of Man that the wisdom, of the nineteenth century has 
recommended so complacently and so often, two most important 
ones have been forgotten, these two are the right of contradicting 
oneself, and the right of going hence. But society looks upon him 
who goes as an insolent fellow ; she would willingly chastise the 
sorry human remains, just as that hapless soldier, stricken with 
vampirism, whom the sight of a corpse exasperated to madness, 
and yet we might say that, under the pressure of certain circum 
stances, after a serious examination of certain incompatibilities, 
with a firm belief in certain dogmas and metempsychoses, we 
might say without emphasis or word-play that a suicide is some 
times the most reasonable action in a life. Thus, a company of 
phantoms have banded themselves together, numerous already, 
each member of which comes back to us boasting of his actual 
repose, converting us to his own persuasion ! 

Once for all let us avow that the melancholy end of the author 
of Eureka excited some exceptional pity, without which the world 
would be no longer tenable. Mr. Willis, as I have said, spoke 
honestly and even with emotion, of the good relations there had 
always existed between Poe and himself. John ISTeal and George 
Graham endeavoured to call Griswold to some sense of shame. 
Mr. Longfellow all honour to him, since Poe had cruelly mal 
treated him knew how, in a manner worthy of a poet, to praise 
Poe s great powers as a poet and a prose writer. An unknown pen 
declared that American literature had lost its strongest head. 

Sick at heart, and unutterably wretched was Mrs. Clemm, for 
Edgar was at once to her as son and daughter. A terrible destiny, 
says Willis, from whom I borrow these details, almost word for 
word, a terrible destiny was that one she watched over and pro 
tected ; for Edgar Poe was an embarrassing being, besides the fact 
that he wrote with a fastidious difficulty, and in a style too much 
above the common intellectual level to be highly paid, he was 
always plunged in monetary distresses, and often he and his sick 
wife stood in urgent need of the common necessaries of life. 
Willis saw one day a lady, old, sweet-countenanced, and grave, 



1 2 EDGAR ALLAN FOE, 

enter his office. It was Mrs. Clemm in search of work for her 
dear Edgar. The biographer tells us that he was sincerely struck, 
not only at the exact appreciation she displayed of the talent of 
her son, but also by her whole appearance her voice, low and sad, 
her manners, maybe of the past, but beautiful and commanding. 
During several years, he adds, we watched this indefatigable 
servitor to genius, poorly and insufficiently clad, going from 
journal to journal, to sell now a poem, now an article, saying some 
times that he was ill the only explanation, the only reason, the 
invariable excuse that she gave when her son was momentarily 
struck with one of those attacks of literary sterility so common to 
nervous writers ; and never allowing her lips to breathe a syllable 
that could be interpreted as a doubt, as a lessening of confidence in 
the genius and the will of her well-beloved. When her daughter 
died she attached herself to the survivor with a maternal ardour 
doubly strengthened ; living with him, taking tender care of him, 
watching over him, defending him against Jife and against himself. 
If ever, concludes Willis, with just and lofty reason, "if ever 
woman s devotion, born with a first love, and fed with human 
passion, hallow its object, as it is allowed to do, what does not a 
devotion like this pure, disinterested, and holy as the watch of an 
invisible spirit say for him who inspired it V Other detractors 
of Poe have in effect remarked that he possessed seductions so 
powerful that they could only be virtues. 

We may divine how terrible the news was to this unfortunate 
mother. She wrote to Willis a letter of which \ve quote a few lines: 

" I have this morning heard of the death of my darling Eddie. 
. . . Can you give me any circumstances or particulars ? . . . Oh ! 
do not desert your friend in this bitter affliction. . . . Ask Mr. 

to come, as I must deliver a message to him from my poor 
Eddie. ... I need not ask you to notice his death, and to speak 
well of him. I know you will. But say what an affectionate son 
he was to me his poor desolate mother. . . ." 

This woman appears to me grand and more than antique. 
Stricken with an irreparable blow, she thinks only of the reputa 
tion of him who was all in all to her, arid it does not sufficiently 
content her to say that he was a genius, but all the world must 
know that he was a man dutiful and affectionate. It is evi 
dent that this mother torch and hearth-side lightened by a ray 
from the highest heavens has been sent as an example to our 



B Y CHARLES BA UD EL A IRE. 1 3 

race, too little careful of heroism and devotion, of all that is noblest 
in duty. Were it not a justice to inscribe before the poet s works 
the name of her who was the moral sun of his life ? to embalm 
in his glory the name of that woman whose tenderness knew how 
to soothe his wounds, and whose image will incessantly hover 
above the martyrology of literature *\ 

III. 

The life of Poe, his morals, his manners, his physical being, all 
that constituted his personal surroundings, appear as at once gloomy 
and brilliant. His person, singularly entrancing, was like his works, 
marked with an indefinable stamp of melancholy. Moreover he was 
remarkably well endowed in all respects. As a youth he had dis 
played a rare aptitude for all physical exercises, and though made 
with the feet and hands of a woman, bearing throughout indeed this 
character of feminine delicacy, he was more than robust, and 
capable of marvellous feats of strength. He had in early youth 
gained a swimming wager for a distance surpassing the ordinary 
measurement of the possible. We might say that Nature endows 
those of whom she expects great things with an energetic tempera 
ment, just as she gives a strong vitality to the trees which stand as 
symbols of grief and mourning. These men, with an outward 
appearance sometimes almost pitiable, are built as athletes, good 
for orgie or for toil, quick to excess and capable of astonishing 
sobriety. 

There are some points relative to Poe upon which there is a 
unanimous agreement, for example his high natural distinction, his 
eloquence and his beauty, of which, as they say, he was perhaps a 
little vain. His manner, a strange blending of haughtiness and 
sweetness, was full of firmness. Physiognomy, walk, gestures, 
every motion of his head, declared him, especially in his happiest 
days, as a chosen creature. All his being breathed a penetrating 
solemnity. He was really marked by nature like those figures of 
chance by-passers, which at once attract the eye of an observer, and 
preoccupy his memory. Even the pedantic and sour Griswold 
avows that when he went to pay Poe a visit, and when he found 
him pale and still stricken with the death and illness of his wife, he 
was struck beyond measure, not only at the perfection of his man 
ners, but still more with his aristocratic physiognomy, and the 



i 4 EDGAR ALLAN POE, 

perfumed atmosphere of his chamber, in other respects modestly 
enough furnished. Griswold ignores that the poet, more than 
other men, possesses that marvellous privilege attributed to the 
women of France and Spain, of knowing how to deck themselves 
with a mere nothing, and that Poe, amorous of beauty in all things, 
would have found a means to transform a thatched cottage into 
a palace of a novel kind. Has he not written, in a spirit most ori 
ginal and most curious, of designs for furniture, of plans of country 
houses and gardens, and of remodelled landscapes ? 

There still exists a charming letter from Mrs. Frances Osgood, 
who was one of Foe s friends, giving us the most curious details 
upon his manners, his person, and his home-life. This lady 
who was herself a distinguished writer courageously denies all 
personal knowledge of the vices and the faults cast up at the poet s 
memory. 

" With men," she said to Griswold, " your views may be per 
fectly just, but to women he was different. . . I think no one 
can know him no one has known him personally certainly no 
woman without feeling a deep interest in him. I have never seen 
him otherwise than gentle, generous, well-bred and fastidiously 
refined. . . . 

" My first meeting with the poet was at Aston-House. A few 
days previous Mr. Willis had handed me at the table d hote, that 
strange and thrilling poem entitled the Raven, saying that the 
author wanted my opinion of it. Its effect upon me was so singu 
lar, so like that of weird unearthly music that it was with a 
feeling almost of shame that I heard he desired an introduction. . . 
I shall never forget the morning when I was summoned to the 
drawing-room by Mr. Willis to receive him. With his proud and 
beautiful head erect, his dark eyes flashing with the electric light 
of feeling and of thought, a peculiar, an inimitable blending of 
sweetness and hauteur in his expression and manner, he greeted 
me calmly, gravely, almost coldly, yet with so marked an earnestness 
that I could not help being deeply impressed by it. From that 
moment until his death we were friends. . . . And in his last 
words, ere reason had for ever left her imperial throne in that 
overtaxed brain, I have a touching memento of his undying faith 
and friendship. 

"It was in his own simple yet poetical home that to me the 
character of Edgar Foe appeared in its most beautiful light. Flayf ul, 



B Y CHARLES BA UDELA2RE. 1 5 

affectionate, witty, alternately docile and wayward as a petted child 
for his young, gentle and idolized wife and for all who came, he 
had, even in the midst of his most harassing literary duties, a kind 
word, a pleasant smile, a graceful arid courteous attention. At his 
desk beneath the romantic picture of the loved and lost Lenore, 
he would sit, hour after hour, patient, assiduous and uncomplain 
ing, tracing in an exquisitely clear chirography, and with almost 
superhuman swiftness, the lightning thoughts the rare and 
radiant fancies, as they flashed through his wonderful and ever 
wakeful brain. I recollect one morning towards the close of his 
residence in this city, when he seemed unusually gay and light- 
hearted. Virginia, his sweet wife, had written me a pressing 
invitation to come to them ; and I who could never resist her j 
affectionate summons, and who enjoyed his society far more in his 
own house than elsewhere, hastened to Amity Street. I found 
him just completing his series of papers entitled the Literati of 
New York. See, said he, displaying in laughing triumph 
several little rolls of narrow paper (he always wrote thus for the 
press,) I am going to show you, by the difference of length in 
these, the different degrees of estimation in which I hold all you 
literary people. In each of these one of you is rolled up and dis 
cussed. Come, Virginia, and help me ! And, one by one, they 
unfolded them. At last they came to one which seemed intermi 
nable. Virginia, laughing, ran to one corner of the room with one 
end, and her husband to the opposite with the other. And whose 
lengthened sweetness long drawn out is that V said I. Hear her, 
he cried, just as if her little vain heart didn t tell her it s herself ! 

" During that year, while travelling for my health, I maintained 
a correspondence with Mr. Poe,Hn accordance with the earnest en 
treaties of his wife, who imagined that my influence over him had a 
restraining and beneficial effect. ... Of the charming love and con 
fidence that existed between his wife and himself, always delight 
fully apparent to me, in spite of the many little poetical episodes, in 
which the impassioned romance of his temperament compelled him 
to indulge ; of this I cannot speak too earnestly too warmly. I 
believe she was the only woman he ever truly loved." 

In Poe s Tales there is no mention of love ; at least Ligeia, 
Ekonora are not, properly speaking, love-stories ; the principal 
idea upon which they hinge being quite other. Perhaps he believed 
that prose is not a language lofty enough for that strange and 



16 EDGAR ALLAN POE, 

almost untranslatable sentiment; for his poems, on the other hand, 
are strongly saturated with it. There the divine passion appears 
magnificent, of the stars, yet always veiled with a mist of un 
changeable melancholy. In his articles he speaks sometimes of 
love, as of a thing at which his pen should tremble. In the Domain 
of Arnheim he affirms that the four elementary conditions of hap 
piness are, life in the open air, the love of a woman, forgetfulness 
of all ambition, and the creation of a new ideal of beauty. What 
corroborates the idea of Mrs. Osgood in regard to Poe s chivalrous 
respect for women is, that in spite of his prodigious talent for the 
grotesque and horrible, there is throughout his works not a single 
passage which treats of wantonness, or even of sensual enjoyment. 
His portraits of women are, so to speak, crowned with aureoles, 
they daze us from the midst of a supernatural mist, and are limned 
in the emphatic manner of a worshipper. As to the little romantic 
episodes, can there be any room for astonishment that a being so 
nervous, in whom the yearning for the beautiful was ever the chief 
characteristic, should, with a passionate ardour, have cultivated 
gallantry, that volcanic and musk-scented flower, for which the 
feverish brain of a poet has always been the chosen soil ] 

Of his singular personal beauty, of which so many biographers 
speak, the mind can, I think, form an approximate idea, in sum 
moning to its. aid all the vague notions, vague yet characteristic, 
contained in the word romantic, which serves generally to render 
the shades of beauty that consist above all in expression. Poe had 
a grand forehead, where certain bumps " betrayed the overflow 
of the faculties which they are supposed to represent such as con 
struction, comparison, causality and where the sense of ideality, 
par excellence the aesthetic sense, lorded it in haughty calmness. Yet 
in spite of these gifts, perhaps even on account of their exorbitant 
privileges, his profile was not exactly pleasant. As whenever one 
sense is excessive, a deficit could but result from the abundance, a 
poverty from the usurpation. He had large eyes, at once sombre 
and full of light, of an indecisive and gloomy colour approaching 
violet ; his nose was noble and solidly cut ; his mouth fine and sad, 
though slightly smiling ; his skin a clear brown ; the face generally 
pale ; the physiognomy a trifle distracted, and imperceptibly tinged 
with melancholy. 

His conversation was very remarkable, and essentially full of 
interest. He was not what we term a good talker a horrible thing 



B Y CHARLES BA UDELAIRE. 1 7 

indeed besides, his speech, like his pen, detested coventionalities ; 
but a vast knowledge, an acquaintance with many tongues, deep 
studies, and impressions garnered in numerous countries, made 
this speech a powerful teacher. His eloquence, essentially poetic, 
full of method, yet soaring above every known method, an arsenal 
of images chosen from a world but little frequented by common 
minds, a prodigious art in drawing secret and novel deductions 
from an evident and absolutely acceptable proposition, in opening 
out astonishing perspectives, and, in a word, the art of ravishing, 
of causing his listeners to think, to dream, snatching them from 
the trammels of routine such were the dazzling powers of which 
many men have kept the memory. But sometimes it would happen 
at all events, they say so that the poet, indulging himself in a 
caprice, would brusquely recall his friends to earth again by some 
painful cynicism, brutally demolishing his spiritual fancy. It is, 
moreover, to be noted that he showed little difficulty in the choice 
of his listeners, and I think the reader will, without trouble, re 
collect many other grand and original intelligences to whom all 
company seemed good ; certain minds, alone in the midst of a 
crowd, and who, scattering their thoughts in a monologue, have 
little delicacy in the matter of their public. It is, in fact, a kind 
of brotherhood founded on contempt. 

Of his drunkenness celebrated and cast up at him with a per 
sistence which might make one believe that all the authors of the 
United States, Foe alone excepted, are angels of sobriety, it is 
still necessary to speak. Several versions are plausible : none ex 
clude the others. Above all, I am obliged to remark that Willis 
and Mrs. Osgood both affirm that a minimum quantity of wine or 
spirit sufficed to completely perturb his organization. It is easy, 
too, to suppose that a man so really solitary, so profoundly unfor 
tunate, who had often declared our social system a paradox and an 
imposture, a man who, tormented by a pitiless destiny, repeated 
often that society was but a rabble of miserable wretches (this 
saying is reported by Griswold, as scandalized as a man can be, 
who thinks the same thing, but dares not speak it) it is natural, 
say I, to suppose that this poet, thrown as a child into the hazards 
of free life, his brain circled tightly round with a toil bitter and 
continuous, should have occasionally sought the delight of for" 
getfulness in the flagon. Literary rancours, vertigoes from the 
crushing marvels of infinity, troubles of household poverty, 

3 



IS EDGAR ALLAN POE, 

insults to his misery, all, all were forgotten in the depths of 
intoxication as in a preparatory tomb. But, just as this explana 
tion may appear, I still mistrust it from the fact of its deplorable 
simplicity. 

I am told that he drank, not as a gourmand, but as a savage with 
that activity and time-economy altogether American, as if accom-^ 
plishing a homicidal function, as if he had within himself something 
that must be killed a worm that ivould not die. They say, too, 
that one day, when he was on the point of marrying a second time 
(the banns were published, but as he was being congratulated upon 
a union that was to prove in his hands the highest convictions of 
happiness and assured existence, he had said : " It is possible that 
you may have heard the banns ; but note this I shall never marry !") 
he went hopelessly drunk to scandalize the neighbourhood of her 
who should have been his wife, having this recourse to his vice to 
disembarrass himself of a perjury towards that poor dead spouse 
whose image always haunted his mind, and whom he had sung so 
Admirably in his Annabel Lee. 1 consider then, that, in a great 
number of cases, the infinitely important fact of premeditation is 
proved and established. 

On the other hand, I read in a long article in the Southern Lite 
rary Messenger the same review whose fortunes he had founded 
that the purity and the finish of his style, the firmness and severity 
of his thought, the ardour of his labour, were never in the slightest 
degree altered by this terrible habit ; that the production of the 
greater part of his excellent short pieces preceded, or followed, one 
of his drunken crises ; that, after the publication of Eureka^ ha 
sacrificed deplorably to his longing ; and that at New York, on the 
yery morning on which the Raven appeared, while the poet s name 
was on every lip, he crossed Broadway, stumbling outrageously, 
You must remark that the words preceded, or followed, imply that 
drunkenness could serve as a stimulant as well as a soothing draught. 

Now, it is incontestable that, like those fugitive and striking 
Impressions most striking in their repetition when they have been 
most fugitive which sometimes follow an exterior symptom, such 
at the striking of a clock, a note of music, or a forgotten perfume 
and which are themselves followed by an event similar to the event 
already known, and which occupy the same place in a chain pre 
viously revealed like those singular periodical dreams which 
frequent our sluuibvrs there exist in drunkenness not only the 



BY CHARLES BAUDELAIRE. 19 

entanglements of dreams, but whole series of reasonings, which 
have need to reproduce themselves, of the medium which has given 
them birth. If the reader has followed me without repugnance, 
he has already divined my conclusion. I believe that, in many 
cases, not certainly in all, the intoxication of Poe was a mnemonic 
means, a method of work, a method energetic and fatal, but appro 
priate to his passionate nature. The poet had learned to drink as 
a laborious author exercises himself in filling note-books. He could 
not resist the desire of finding again those visions, marvellous or 
awful those subtle conceptions which he had met before in a pre 
ceding tempest ; they were old acquaintances which imperatively 
attracted him, and to renew his knowledge of them, he took a road 
most dangerous, but most direct. The works that give us so much 
pleasure to-day were, in reality, the cause of his death. 

IV. 

Of the works of this singular genius I have very little to say ; 
the public will soon prove what it thinks of them. It would to me 
be difficult, but not impossible, to unravel his method, to explain 
his process, especially in that part of his works whose effect prin 
cipally lies in a skilfully-managed analysis. I could introduce the 
reader into the mystery of his fabrication, paying a special attention 
to that portion of American genius which caused him to rejoice 
over a conquered difficulty, a resolved enigma, a successful effort of 
strength, which urged him on to delight himself with a childish and 
almost perverse enjoyment in the world of probabilities and con 
jectures, to create canards to which his subtle aid gave all the 
appearances of reality. No one can deny that Poe was a marvellous 
juggler ; and I know that he gave his esteem especially to another 
portion of his works. I have a few, and very brief, important 
remarks to make. 

It was not by his material miracles, however they may have made 
his renown, that he won the admiration of thinkers, but by his love 
of the beautiful, by his knowledge of the harmonical conditions of 
beauty, by his profound and plaintive poetry, carefully wrought, 
nevertheless, and correct and transparent as a crystal jewel by 
his admirable style, pure and strange compact as the joints of a 
coat of mail complacent and minute, and the slightest turn of 
which served to push his reader towards the desired end and, 
above all, by that quite special genius, by that unique temperament 



20 EDGAR ALLAN POE, 

which permitted him to paint and explain, in a manner, impeccable, 
entrancing, terrible, the exception in moral order. Diderot, to take 
one example of a hundred, is a blood-red author ; Poe is a writer 
of the nerves even something more and the best I know. 

With him every entry into a subject is attractive, without vio 
lence, like a whirlwind. His solemnity surprises the mind, and 
keeps it on the watch. We feel at once that something grave is at 
stake ; and slowly, little by little, a history is unfurled the interest 
of which rests upon some imperceptible deviation of the -intellect, 
upon an audacious hypothesis, upon an imprudent dose of nature 
in the amalgam of the faculties. The reader, thralled as if by 
vertigo, is constrained to follow the author in his entangling de 
ductions. 

No man, I repeat, has told, with greater magic the exceptions joi. 
human life and nature, the ardours of the curiosities of convales 
cence, the close of seasons charged with enervating splendours, 
sultry weather, humid and misty, where the south wind softens 
and distends the nerves, like the chords of an instrument ; where 
the eyes are filled with tsars that come not from the heart ; hallu 
cination at first giving place to doubt, soon convinced and full of 
reasons as a book ; absurdity installing itself in the intellect, and 
governing it with a crushing logic ; hysteria usurping the place of 
will, a contradiction established between the nerves and the mind, 
and mien out of all accord expressing grief by laughter. He analyses 
them where they are most fugitive ; he poises the imponderable, 
and describes in that minute and scientific manner, whose effects 
are terrible, all that imaginary world which floats around the ner 
vous man, and conducts him on to evil. 

The very ardour with which he threw himself into the grotesque, 
out of love for the grotesque, and into the horrible, out of love for 
the horrible, seems to verify the sincerity of his work, and the 
accord of the poet with the man. I have already remarked that in 
mr.ny men this ardour was often the result of a vast unoccupied 
vital energy, sometimes of a self-promoted chastity, and also of a 
profound back-driven sensibility. The supernatural delight that a 
man can experience in watching his own blood flow sudden, vio 
lent, useless movements, loud cries thrown into the air, with out any 
mental will are phenomena of the same order. 

Upon the heart of this literature where the air is rarified, the 
mind can feel that vague anguish, that fear prompt to tears, that 



B Y CHARLES BA UDELAIRE. 21 

sickness of the heart, which dwells in places vast and strange. 
But the admiration is stronger ; and, then, art is so great ! all the 
accessories are there thoroughly appropriate to the characters. The 
silent solitude of nature, the bustling agitation of the city, are all 
described there, nervously and fantastically. Like our Eugene 
Delacroix, who has elevated his art to the height of grand poetry, 
Edgar Poe loves to move his figures upon a ground of green or 
violet, where the phosphorescence of putrefaction, and the odour 
of the hurricane, reveal themselves. Nature inanimate, so styled, 
participates of the nature of living beings, and, like it, trembles 
with a shiver, supernatural and galvanic. Space is fathomed by 
opium ; for opium gives a magic tinge to all the hues, and causes 
every noise to vibrate with the most sonorous magnificence. Some 
times glorious visions, full of light and colour, suddenly unroll 
themselves in its landscape ; and on the furthest horizon-line we 
see oriental cities and palaces, mist covered, in the distance, which 
the sun floods with golden showers. 

The characters of Poe, or rather the character of Poe, the man 
with sharpened faculties, the man with nerves relaxed, the man 
whose ardent and patient will bids a defiance to difficulties, whose 
glance is steadfastly fixed, with the rigidness of a sword, upon 
objects that increase the more, the more he gazes this man is Poe 
himself ; and his women, all luminous and sickly, dying of a thou 
sand unknown ills, and speaking with a voice resembling music, are 
still himself; or, at least, by their strange aspirations, by their 
knowledge, by their incurable melancholy, they participate strongly 
in the nature of their creator. As to his ideal woman his Titanide, 
she reveals herself under different names, scattering in his, alas ! 
too scanty poems, portraits, or rather modes of feeling beauty, 
which the temperament of the author brings together, and con 
founds in a unity, vague but sensible, and where, more delicately, 
perhaps, than elsewhere, glows that insatiable passion for the beau 
tiful which forms his greatest claim, that is to say, the essence of 
all his claims, to the affection and the respect of poets. 



MISCELLANEOUS 
YOUTHFUL POEMS. 



PREFACE TO THE POEMS. 

I HESE trifles are collected and republished chiefly with a view to 
their redemption from the many improvements to which they 
have been subjected while going at random " the rounds of the 
press." I am naturally anxious that what I have written should circulate 
as I wrote it, if it circulate at all. In defence of my own taste, neverthe 
less, it is incumbent upon me to say that I think nothing in this volume 
of much value to the public, or very creditable to myself. Events not to 
be controlled have prevented me from making, at any time, any 
serious effort in what, under happier circumstances, would have been 
the field of my choice. With me poetry has been not a purpose, but 
a passion ; and the passions should be held in reverence ; they must 
not, they cannot at will be excited, with an eye to the paltry compen 
sations, or the more paltry commendations, of mankind. 

E. A. P. 



THE RAVEN. 

NCE upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and 

weary, 

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore 
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, 
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. 
" Tis some visitor," I muttered, " tapping at my chamber door 

Only this and nothing more." 

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December, 
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. 
Eagerly I wished the morrow ; vainly I had sought to borrow 
From my books surcease of sorrow sorrow for the lost Lenore 
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore 

Nameless here for evermore. 

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain 
Thrilled me filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before ; 
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating 
" Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door 
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door ; 

This it is and nothing more." 

Presently my soul grew stronger ; hesitating then no longer, 
" Sir," said I, " or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore ; 
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, 
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, 
That I scarce was sure I heard you" here I opened wide the 

door ; 

Darkness there and nothing more. 

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, 

fearing, 

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before; 
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, 



26 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

And the only word there spoken was the whispered word. " Le- 

noref 
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, i{ Le- 

nore !" Merely this and nothing more. 

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, 
Soon again I heard a tapping something louder than before. 
" Surely," said I, " surely that is something at my window lattice ; 
Let me see, then, what thereat is and this mystery explore 
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore ; 

; Tis the wind and nothing more." 

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, 
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore. 
Not the least obeisance made he ; not a minute stopped or stayed he, 
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door 
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door- 
Perched, and sat, and nothing more. 

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, 

By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, 

" Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, " art sure no 

craven, 

Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore 
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night s Plutonian shore !" 

Quoth the Raven, " Nevermore." 

Much I marvelled this ungainly few!, to hear discourse so plainly, 
Though its answer little meaning little relevancy bore ; 
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being 
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door 
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, 

With such name as " Nevermore." 

But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only 
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. 
Nothing farther then he uttered ; not a feather then he fluttered 
Till I scarcely more than muttered "Other friends have flown 

before 

On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before," 

Then the bird said " Nevermore." 

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, 
" Doubtless," said I, " what it utters is its only stock and store 



THE RA FEN. 7 

Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster 
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore 
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore 

Of Never nevermore." 

But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling, 
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and 

door; 

Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking 
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore 
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore 

Meant in croaking " Nevermore/ 

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing 
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom s core ; 
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining 
On the cushion s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o er, 
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o er 

Slw shall press, ah, nevermore ! 

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen 

censer 

Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. 
" Wretch," I cried, " thy God hath lent thee by these angels he 

hath sent thee 

Respite respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore ! 
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore !" 

Quoth the Raven, " Nevermore. 5 * 

" Prophet !" said I, " thing of evil ! prophet still, if bird or devil ! 
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, 
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted 
On this Home by horror haunted tell me truly, I implore 
Is there is there balm in Gilead ? tell me tell me, I implore !" 

Quoth the Raven, " Nevermore/ 

" Prophet !" said I, "thing of evil prophet still, if bird or devil ! 
By that Heaven that bends above usby that God we both adore 
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, 
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore 
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore." 

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." 



28 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE, 

" Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend !" I shrieked, up 
starting 

" Get thee back into the tempest and the Night s Plutonian shore ! 

Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken ! 

Leave my loneliness unbroken ! quit the bust above my door ! 

Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my 
door !" 

Quoth the Raven, " Nevermore," 

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting 
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door ; 
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon s that is dreaming, 
And the lamp-light o er him streaming throws his shadow on the 

floor; 

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor 

Shall be lifted nevermore ! 

LENORE. 

JH, broken is the golden bowl ! the spirit flown for ever ! 
Let the bell toll ! a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river ; 
And, Guy De Vere, hast tkou no tear I weep now or never 

more ! 

See ! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore ! 
Come ! let the burial rite be read the funeral song be sung ! 
An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young 
A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young. 

" Wretches ! ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her pride, 
And when she fell in feeble health, ye blessed her that she died ! 
How shall the ritual, then, be read 1 the requiem how be sung 
By you by yours, the evil eye, by yours, the slanderous tongue 
That did to death the innocence that died, and died so young V 

Peccavimus; but rave not thus ! and let a Sabbath song 

Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel no wrong ! 

The sweet Lenore -hath " gone before," with Hope, that flew beside, 

Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy 

bride 

For her, the fair and debonair, that now so lowly lies, 
The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes 
The life still there, upon her hair the death upon her eyes. 



A VALENTINE. 29 

" Avaunt ! to-night my heart is light. No dirge will I upraise, 
But waft the angel on her flight with a Paean of old days ! 
Let no bell toll ! lest her sweet soul, amid its hallowed mirth, 
Should catch the note, as it doth float up from the damned Earth. 
To friends above, from fiends below, the indignant ghost is riven 
From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven 
From grief and groan, to a golden throne, beside the King of 
Heaven." 



HYMN. 

I T morn at noon at twilight dim- 
Maria ! thou hast heard my hymn 1 
In joy and woe in good and ill 
Mother of God, be with me still ! 
When the Hours flew brightly by, 
And not a cloud obscured the sky, 
My soul, lest it should truant be, 
Thy grace did guide to thine and thee ; 
Now, when storms of Fate o ercast 
Darkly my Present anr* my Past, 
Let my Future radiant shine 
With sweet hopes of thee and thine ! 



A VALENTINE. 

jOR her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes, 

Brightly expressive as the twins of Lceda, 
Shall find her own sweet name, that, nestling lica 
Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader. 
Search narrowly the lines ! they hold a treasure 

Divine a talisman an amulet 
That must be worn at heart. Search well the measure 

The words the syllables ! Do not forget 
The trivialest point, or you may lose your labour ! 

And yet there is in this no Gordian knot 

Which one might not undo without a sabre, 

If one could merely comprehend the plot* 



36 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

Enwritten upon the leaf where now are peering 

Eyes scintillating soul, there lie perdus 
Three eloquent words oft uttered in the hearing 

Of poets, by poets as the name is a poet s, too. 
Its letters, although naturally lying 

Like the knight Pinto Mendez Ferdinando 
Still form a synonym for Truth. Cease trying ! 

You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you can do. 

[To translate the address, read the first letter of the first line in 
connection with the second letter of the second line, the third letter 
of the third line, the fourth of the fourth, and so on to the end 
The name will thus appear. ] 



THE COLISEUM. 

[ YPE of the antique Rome ! Rich reliquary 
Of lofty contemplation left to Time 
By buried centuries of pomp and power ! 
At length at length after so many clays 
Of weary pilgrimage and burning thirst, 
(Thirst for the springs of lore that in thee lie,) 
I kneel, an altered and an humble man, 
Amid thy shadows, and so drink within 
My very soul thy grandeur, gloom, and glory ! 

Vastness ! and Age ! and Memories of Eld ! 
Silence ! and Desolation ! and dim Night ! 
I feel ye now I feel ye in your strength 
spells more sure than e er Judsean king 
Taught in the gardens of Gethsemane ! 
O charms more potent than the rapt Chaldee 
Ever drew down from out the quiet stars ! 

Here, where a hero fell, a column falls ! 

Here, where the mimic eagle glared in gold, 

A midnight vigil holds the swarthy bat ! 

Here, where the dames of Rome their gilded hair 

Waved to the wind, now wave the reed and thistle ! 

Here, where on golden throne the monarch lolled, 



TO HELEN. 3* 

Glides, spectre-like, unto his marble home, 
Lit by the wan light of the horne d moon, 
The swift and silent lizard of the stones ! 

But stay ! these walls these ivy-clad arcades 
These mouldering plinths these sad and blackened shafts 
These vague entablatures this crumbling frieze 
These shattered cornices this wreck this ruin 
These stones alas ! these gray stones are they all- 
All of the famed, and the colossal left 
By the corrosive Hours to Fate and me ? 

" Not all" the Echoes answer me " not all ! 
Prophetic sounds and loud, arise forever 
From us, and from all Ruin, unto the wise, 
As melody from Memnon to the Sun. 
We rule the hearts of mightiest men we rule 
With a despotic sway all giant minds. 
We are not impotent we pallid stones. 
Not all our power is gone not all our fame - 
Not all the magic of our high renown 
Not all the wonder that encircles us 
Not all the mysteries that in us lie 
Not all the memories that hang upon 
And cling around about us as a garment, 
Clothing us in a robe of more than glory." 



TO HELEN. 

SAW thee once once only years ago : 
I must not say how many but not many. 
It was a July midnight ; and from out 
A full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul, soaring, 
Sought a precipitate pathway up through heaven, 
There fell a silvery silken veil of light, 
With quietude, and sultriness, and slumber, 
Upon the upturn d faces of a thousand 
Roses that grew in an enchanted garden, 
Where no wind dared to stir, unless on tiptoe- 
Fell on the upturn d faces of these roses 



32 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

That gave out, in return for the love-light, 
Their odorous souls in an ecstatic death 
Fell on the upturn d faces of these roses 
That smiled and died in this parterre, enchanted 
By thee, and by the poetry of thy presence. 

Clad all in white, upon a violet bank 

I saw thee half reclining ; while the moon 

Fell on the upturn d faces of the roses, 

And on thine own, upturn d alas, in sorrow ! 

Was it not Fate, that, on this July midnight 
Was it not Fate, (whose name is also Sorrow,) 
That bade me pause before that garden-gate, 
To breathe the incense of those slumbering roses 1 
No footstep stirred : the hated world all slept, 
Save only thee and me. (Oh, Heaven ! oh, God ! 
How my heart beats in coupling those two words !) 
Save only thee and me. I paused I looked 
And in an instant all things disappeared. 
(Ah, bear in mind this garden was enchanted !) 

The pearly lustre of the moon went out : 
The mossy banks and the meandering paths, 
The happy flowers and the repining trees, 
Were seen no more : the very roses odours 
Died in the arms of the adoring airs. 
All all expired save thee save less than thou : 
Save only the divine light in thine eyes 
Save but the soul in thine uplifted eyes. 
I saw but them they were the world to me. 
I saw but them saw only them for hours 
Saw only them until the moon went down. 
What wild heart-histories seemed to lie enwritt-en 
Upon those crystalline, celestial spheres ! 
How dark a woe ! yet how sublime a hope ! 
How silently serene a sea of pride ! 
How daring an ambition ! yet how deep 
How fathomless a capacity for love ! 

But now, at length, dear Dian sank from sight, 
Into a western couch of thunder-cloud ; 



- 33 

And thon, a ghost, amid the entombing trees 
Didst glide way. Only thine eyes remained. 
Ilieytvoutd not go they never yet have gone. 
Lighting my lonely pathway home that night, 
They have not left me (as my hopes have) since. 
They follow me they lead me through the years 
They are my ministers yet I their slave. 
Their office is to illumine and enkindle 
My duty, to be saved by their bright light. 
And purified in their electric fire, 
And sanctified in their elysian fire. 
They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope), 
And are far up in Heaven the stars I kneel to 
In the sad, silent watches of my night ; 
While even in the meridian glare of day 
I see them still two sweetly scintillant 
Venuses, unextinguished by the sun ! 

TO . 

JOT long ago, the writer of these lines, 

In the mad pride of intellectuality, 

Maintained "the power of words" denied that ever 
A thought arose within the human brain 
Beyond the utterance of the human tongue : 
And now, as if in mockery of that boast, 
Two words two foreign soft dissyllables 
Italian tones, made only to be murmured 
By angels dreaming in the moonlit " dew 
That hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon hill," 
Have stirred from out the abysses of his heart, 
Unthought-like thoughts that are the souls of thought, 
Richer, far wilder, far diviner visions 
Than even the seraph harper, Israfel, 
(Who has " the sweetest voice of all God s creatures,") 
Could hope to utter. And I ! my spells are broken. 
The pen falls powerless from my shivering hand. 
With thy dear name as text, though bidden by thee, 
I cannot write I cannot speak or think 
Alas, I cannot feel ; for ; tis not feeling, 



34 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

This standing motionless upon the golden 
Threshold of the wide-open gate of dreams, 
Gazing, entranced, adown the gorgeous vista, 
And thrilling as I see, upon the right, 
Upon the left, and all the way along, 
Amid unpurpled vapours, far away 
To where the prospect terminates thee only. 

ULALUME. 

[HE skies they were ashen and sober ; 
The leaves they were crisped and sere 
The leaves they were withering and sere- 
It was night in the lonesome October 

Of my most immemorial year ; 
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber, 
In the misty mid region of Weir 
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber, 

In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir. 

Here once, through an alley Titaijic, 

Of cypress, I roamed with my soul 
Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul. 

These were days when my heart was volcanic 
As the scoriae rivers that roll 
As the lavas that restlessly roll 

Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek 
In the ultimate climes of the pole 

That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek 
In the realms of the boreal pole. 

Our talk had been serious and sober, 

But our thoughts they were palsied and sere 
Our memories were treacherous and sere 

For we knew not the month was October, 

And we marked not the night of the year 
(Ah, night of all nights in the year!) 

We noted not the dim lake of Auber 

(Though once we had journeyed down here) 

Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber, 
Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir. 



ULALUME. 35 

And now, as the night was senescent 

And star-dials pointed to morn 

As the star-dials hinted of morn 
At the end of our path a liquescent 

And nebulous lustre was born, 
Out of which a miraculous crescent 

Arose with a duplicate horn 
Astarte s bediamonded crescent 

Distinct with its duplicate horn. 

And I said " She is warmer than Dian : 

She rolls through an ether of sighs- 
She revels in a region of sighs : 
She has seen that the tears are not dry on 

These cheeks, where the worm never dies, 
And has come past the stars of the Lion 

To point us the path to the skies 

To the Lethean peace of the skies 
Come up, in despite of the Lion, 

To shine on us with her bright eyes 
Come up through the lair of the Lion, 

With love in her luminous eyes." 

But Psyche, uplifting her finger, 

Said " Sadly this star I mistrust 

Her pallor I strangely mistrust : 
Oh, hasten ! oh, let us not linger ! 

Oh, fly ! let us fly ! for we must." 
In terror she spoke, letting sink her 

Wings until they trailed in the dust 
In agony sobbed, letting sink her 

Plumes till they trailed in the dust 

Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust. 

I replied " This is nothing but dreaming; 

Let us on by this tremulous light 1 

Let us bathe in this crystalline light ! 
Its Sybilic splendour is beaming 

With Hope and in Beauty to-night \ 

See ! it flickers up the sky through the night ! 
Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming, 

And be sure it will lead us aright 

23 



36 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

We safely may trust to a gleaming 
That cannot but guide us aright, 
Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night." 

Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her, 
And tempted her out of her gloom 
And conquered her scruples and gloom ; 

And \ve passed to the end of the vista, 

But were stopped by the door of a tomb 
By the door of a legended tomb ; 

And I said " What is written, sweet sister, 
On the door of this legended tomb V 
She replied " Ulalume Ulalume 
J Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!" 

Then my heart it grew ashen and sober 

As the leaves that were crisped and sere 
As the leaves that were withering and sere, 

And I cried " It was surely October 
On this very night of last year 
That I journeyed I journeyed down here 
That I brought a dread burden down here 
On this night of all nights in the year, 
Ah, what demon has tempted me here ? 

Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber 
This misty mid region of Weir 

Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber, 
This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir." 

THE BELLS, 
i. 

the sledges with the bells 

Silver bells ! 

What a world of merriment their melody foretells I 
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle, 

In the icy air of night ! 
While the stars that oversprinkle 
All the heavens, seem to twinkle 

With a crystalline delight ; 
Keeping time, time, time, 
In. a, sort of Runic 



THE BELLS. 3? 

To the tintinabulation that so musically wells 
From the bells, bells, bells, bells, 

Bells, bells, bells 
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells. 

II. 
Hear the mellow wedding bells, 

Golden bells! 

What a world of happiness their harmony foretells ! 
Through the balmy air of night 
How they ring out their delight ! 
From the molten golden notes, 

And all in tune, 
What a liquid ditty floats 
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats 

On the moon ! 

Oh, from out the sounding cells, 
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells ! 
How it swells ! 
How it dwells 
On the Future ! how it tells 
Of the rapture that impels 
To the swinging and the ringing 

Of the bells, bells, bells, 
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells, 

Bells, bells, bells 
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells I 

in. 

Hear the loud alarum bells- 
Brazen bells ! 

What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells I 
In the startled ear of night 
How they scream out their affright ! 
Too much horrified to speak, 
They can only shriek, shriek, 

Out of tune, 

In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire, 
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire. 
Leaping higher, higher, higher, 
With a desperate desire, 



3 8 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN PO&. 

And a resolute endeavour 
Now now to sit or never, 
By the side of the pale-faced moon. 
Oh, the bells, bells, bells ! 
What a tale their terror tells 

Of Despair ! 

How they clang, and clash, and roar t 
What a horror they outpour 
On the bosom of the palpitating air ! 
Yet the ear it fully knows, 
By the twanging, 
And the clanging, 
How the danger ebbs and flows ; 
Yet the ear distinctly tells, 
In the jangling, 
And the wrangling, 
How the danger sinks and swells* 
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells 

Of the bells 
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells, 

Bells, bells, bells- 
In the clamour and the clangour of the bells ! 

IV. 

Hear the tolling of the bells 
Iron bells ! 

What a world of solemn thought their monody compels ! 
In the silence of the night, 
How we shiver with affright 
At the melancholy menac 3 of their tone ! 
For every sound that floats 
From the rust within their throats 

Is a groan. 

And the people ah, the people 
They that dwell up in the steeple, 

All alone, 
And who tolling, tolling, tolling, 

In that muffled monotone, 
Feel a glory in so rolling 

On the human heart a stone 



AN ENIGMA. 39 

They are neither man nor woman 
They are neither brute nor human 

They are Ghouls : 
And their king it is who tolls ; 
And he rolls, rolls, rolls, 

Kolls 

A paean from the bells ! 
And his merry bosom swells 

With the paean of the bells ! 
And he dances, and he yells ; 
Keeping time, time, time, 
In a sort of Runic rhyme, 
To the paean of the bells 

Of the bells : 
Keeping time, time, time, 
In a sort of Runic rhyme, 
To the throbbing of the bells 
Of the bells, bells, bells 

To the sobbing of the bells 
Keeping time, time, time, 

As he knells, knells, knells, 
In a happy Runic rhyme, 

To the rolling of the bells 
Of the bells, bells, bells 

To the tolling of the bells, 
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells- 
Bells, bells, bells 
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells. 

AN ENIGMA. 

[ELDOM we find," says Solomon Don Dunce, 
" Half an idea in the profoundest sonnet. 
Through all the flimsy things we see at once 
As easily as through a Naples bonnet 
Trash of all trash ! how can a lady don it ! 
Yet heavier far than your Petrarchan stuff 
Owl-downy nonsense that the faintest puff 

Twirls into trunk-paper the while you con it." 
And, veritably, Sol is right enough. 
The general tuckermanities are arran* 



4 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

Bubbles ephemeral and so transparent 

But this is, now, you may depend upon it 
Stable, opaque, immortal all by dint 
Of the dear names that lie concealed within t 

ANNABEL LEE. 

|T was many and many a year ago, 

In a kingdom by the sea, 

That a maiden there lived whom you may know 
By the name of ANNABEL LEE ; 
And this maiden she lived with no other thought 
Than to love and be loved by me. 

/was a child and s7i<?was a child, 

In this kingdom by the sea : 
But we loved with a love that was more than love 

I and my ANNABEL LEE ; 
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven 

Coveted her and me. 

Arid this was the reason that, long ago, 

In this kingdom by the sea, 
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling 

My beautiful ANNABEL LEE ; 
So that her high-born kinsman came 

And bore her away from me, 
To shut her up in a sepulchre 

In this kingdom by the sea. 

The angels, not half so happy in heaven, 

Went envying her and me 
Yes ! that was the reason (as all men know, 

In this kingdom by the sea) 
That the wind came out of the cloud by night, 

Chilling and killing my ANNABEL LEE. 

But our love it was stronger by far than the love 

Of those who were older than we 

Of many far wiser than we 
And neither the angels in heaven above, 

Nor the demons down under the sea, 
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul 

Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE : 



ANNABEL LEE. 4* 

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams 

Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE ; 
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes 

Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE ; 
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side 
Of my darling my darling my life and my bride, 

In the sepulchre there by the sea, 
In her tomb by the sounding sea. 

TO MY MOTHER. 

1ECAUSE I feel that, in the Heavens above, 

The an gels, whispering to one another, 
Can find, among their burning terms of love, 

None so devotional as that of " Mother," 
Therefore by that dear name I long have called you 

You who are more than mother unto me, 
And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you, 

In setting my Virginia s spirit free. 
My mother my own mother, who died early, 

Was but the mother of myself ; but you 
Are mother to the one I loved so dearly, 

And thus are dearer than the mother I knew 
By that infinity with which my wife 

Was dearer to my soul than its own soul-life. 

THE HAUNTED PALACE. 

|N the greenest of our valleys 

By good angels tenanted, 
Once a fair and stately palace 

Eadiant palace reared its head. 
In the monarch Thought s dominion^- 

It stood there ! 
Never seraph spread a pinion 
Over fabric half so fair ! 

Banners yellow, glorious, golden, 

On its roof did float and flow, 
(This all this was in the olden 

Time long ago,) 



42 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

And every gentle air that dallied, 

In that sweet day, 
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid, 

A winged odour went away* 

Wanderers in that happy valley. 

Through two luminous windows, saw 
Spirits moving musically, 

To a lute s well-tuned law, 
Bound about a throne where, sitting 

(Porphyrogene !) 
In state his glory well befitting, 

The ruler of the realm was seen. 

And all with pearl and ruby glowing 

Was the fair palace door, 
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing 

And sparkling evermore, 
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty 

Was but to sing, 
In voices of surpassing beauty, 

The wit and wisdom of their king. 

But evil things, in robes of sorrow, 

Assailed the monarch s high estate. 
(Ah, let us mourn ! for never morrow 

Shall dawn upon him desolate !) 
And round about his home the glory 

That blushed and bloomed. 
Is but a dim-remembered story 

Of the old time entombed. 

And travellers, now, within that valley, 

Through the red-litten windows see 
Vast forms, that move fantastically 

To a discordant melody, 
While, like a ghastly rapid river, 

Through the pale door 
A hideous throng rush out forever 

And laugh but smile no more, 



THE CONQUEROR WORM, 43 



THE CONQUEROR WORM. 

! tis a gala night 

Within the lonesome latter years; 
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight 

In veils, and drowned in tears, 
Sit in a theatre, to see 

A play of hopes and fears, 
While the orchestra breathes fitfully 
The music of the spheres. 

Mimes, in the form of God on high, 

Mutter and mumble low, 
And hither and thither fly 

Mere puppets they, who come and go 
At bidding of vast formless things 

That shift the scenery to and fro, 
Flapping from out their Condor wings 

Invisible Woe ! 

That motley drama oh, be sure 

It shall not be forgot ! 
With its Phantom chased for evermore, 

By a crowd that seize it not, 
Through a circle that ever returneth in 

To the self -same spot, 
And much of Madness, and more of Sin, 

And Horror the soul of the plot. 

But see, amid the mimic rout 

A crawling shape intrude ! 
A blood-red thing that writhes from out 

The scenic solitude ! 
It writhes ! it writhes ! with mortal pangs 

The mimes become its food, 
And the angels sob at vermin fangs 

In human gore imbrued. 

Out out are the lights out all 1 
And, over each quivering form, 



44 WORK S OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

The curtain, a funeral pall, 
Comes down with the rush of a storm, 

And the angels, all pallid and wan. 
Uprising, unveiling, affirm 

That the play is the tragedy, "Man," 
And its hero the Conqueror Worm. 

TO F S S. O D. 

would st be loved? then let thy heart 
From its present pathway part not ! 
Being everything which now thou art, 

Be nothing which thou art not. 
So with the world thy gentle ways, 

Thy grace, thy more than beauty, 
Shall be an endless theme of praise, 
And love a simple duty. 

TO ONE IN PARADISE. 

jHOU wast that all to me, love, 
For which my soul did pine 
"A green isle in the sea, love, 

A fountain and a shrine, 
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers, 
And all the flowers were mine. 

Ah, dream too bright to last! 

Ah, starry Hope ! that didst arise 
But to be overcast ! 

A voice from out the Future cries, 
"On ! on !" but o er the Past 

(Dim gulf !) my spirit hovering lies 
Mute, motionless, aghast ! 

For, alas ! alas ! with me 

The light of Life is o er ! 
"No more no more no more" 
(Such language holds the solemn sea 

To the sands upon the shore) 
Shall bloom the thunder-Masted tree, 

Or the stricken eagle soar ! 



TO ONE IN PARADISE. 45 

And all my days are trances, 

And all my nightly dreams 
Are where thy dark eye glances, 

And where thy footstep gleams 
In what ethereal dances, 

By what eternal streams. 

THE VALLEY OF UNREST. 



it smiled a silent dell 
Where the people did not dwell ; 
They had gone unto the wars, 
Trusting to the mild-eyed stars, 
Nightly, from their azure towers, 
To keep watch above the flowers, 
In the midst of which all day 
The red sun-light lazily lay. 
Now each visitor shall confess 
The sad valley s restlessness. 
Nothing there is motionless 
Nothing save the airs that brood 
Over the magic solitude. 
Ah, by no wind are stirred those trees 
That palpitate like the chill seas 
Around the misty Hebrides ! 
Ah. by no wind those clouds are driven 
That rustle through the unquiet Heaven 
Uneasily, from morn till even, 
Over the violets there that lie 
In myriad types of the human eye- 
Over the lilies there that wave 
And weep above a nameless grave \ 
They wave : from out their fragrant tops 
Eternal dews come down in drops. 
They weep : from off their delicate stems 
Perennial tears descend in gems. 



46 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE, 



THE CITY IN THE SEA. 

|O ! Death has reared himself a throne 

In a strange city lying alone 

Far down within the dim West, 
Where the gopd and the bad and the worst and the best 
Have gone to their eternal rest. 
There shrines and palaces and towers 
(Time-eaten towers that tremble not!) 
Resemble nothing that is ours. 
Around, by lifting winds forgot, 
Resignedly beneath the sky 
The melancholy waters lie. 

No rays from the holy heaven come down. 
On the long night-time of that town ; 
But light from out the lurid sea 
Streams up the turrets silently 
Ghams up the pinnacles far and free 
Up domes up spires up kingly halls 
Up fanes up Babylon-like walls 
Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers 
Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers 
Up many and many a marvellous shrine 
Whose wreathed friezes intertwine 
The viol, the violet, and the vine. 

Resignedly beneath the sky 

The melancholy waters lie. 

So blend the turrets and shadows there 

That all seem pendulous in air, 

While from a proud tower in the town 

Death looks gigantically down. 

There open fanes and gaping graves 
Yawn level with the luminous waves 
But not the riches there that lie 
In each idol s diamond eye 
Not the gaily-jewelled dead 
Tempt the waters from their bed ; 



THE CITY IN THE SEA. 47 

For no ripples curl, alas ! 
Along that wilderness of glass 
No swellings tell that winds may be 
Upon some far-off happier sea 
No heavings hint that winds have been 
On seas less hideously serene. 

But lo ! a stir is in the air ! 
The wave there is a movement there ! 
As if the towers had thrust aside, 
In slightly sinking, the dull tide- 
As if their tops had feebly given 
A void within the filmy Heaven. 
The waves have now a redder glow 
The hours are breathing faint and low 
And when, amid no earthly moans, 
Down, down that town shall settle hence, 
Hell, rising from a thousand thrones, 
Shall do it reverence. 

THE SLEEPER. 

[jT midnight, in the month of June, 
I stand beneath the mystic moon. 
An opiate vapour, dewy, dim, 
Exhales from out her golden rim, 
And, softly dripping, drop by drop, 
Upon the quiet mountain top, 
Steals drowsily and musically 
Into the universal valley. 
The rosemary nods upon the grave ; 
The lily lolls upon the wave ; 
Wrapping the fog about its breast, 
The ruin moulders into rest ; 
Looking like Lethe, see ! the lake 
A conscious slumber seems to take, 
And would not, for the world, awake. 
All Beauty sleeps ! and lo ! where lies 
(Her casement open to the skies) 
Irene, with her Destinies 1 



48 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

Oh, lady bright ! can it be right 
This window open to the night 1 
The wanton airs, from the tree -top, 
Laughingly through the lattice drop 
The bodiless airs, a wizard rout, 
Flit through thy chamber in and out, 
And wave the curtain canopy 
So fitfully so fearfully 
Above the closed and fringed lid 
Neath which thy slumb ring soul lies hid, 
That, o er the floor and down the wall, 
Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall ! 
Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear 1 
Why and what art thou dreaming here ] 
Sure thou art come o er far-off seas, 
A wonder to these garden trees ! 
Strange is thy pallor ! strange thy dress ! 
Strange, above all, thy length of tress, 
And this all solemn silentness ! 

The lady sleeps ! Oh, may her sleep, 
Which is enduring, so be deep ! 
Heaven have her in its sacred keep ! 
This chamber changed for one more holy, 
This bed for one more melancholy, 
I pray to God that she may lie 
For ever with unopened eye, 
While the dim sheeted ghosts go by ! 

My love, she sleeps ! Oh, may her sleep, 
As it is lasting, so be deep ! 
Soft may the worms about her creep ! 
Far in the forest, dim and old, 
For her may some tall vault unfold 
Some vault that oft hath flung its black 
And winged pannels fluttering back, 
Triumphant, o er the crested palls, 
Of her grand family funerals 
i Some sepulchre, remote, alone, 

Against whose portal she hath thrown, 
In childhood, many an idle stone 



THE SLEEPER. 

Some tomb from out whose sounding door 
She ne er shall force an echo mere, 
Thrilling to think, poor child of sin ! 
It was the dead who groaned within. 



SILENCE. 

are some qualities some incorporate things, 
That have a double life, which thus is made 
A type of that twin entity which springs 

From matter and light, evinced in solid and shade. 
There is a two-fold Silence sea and shore 
Body and soul. One dwells in lonely places, 
Newly with grass o ergrown ; some solemn graces, 
Some human memories and tearful lore, 
Render him terrorless : his name s " No More." 
He is the corporate Silence : dread him not ! 

No power hath he of evil in himself ; 
But should some urgent fate (untimely lot !) 

Bring thee to meet his shadow (nameless elf, 
That haunteth the lone regions where hath trod 
No foot of man,) commend thyself to God ! 

A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM. 

{ AKE this kiss upon the brow ! 

And, in parting from you now, 

Thus much let me avow 
You are not wrong, who deem 
That my days have been a dream ; 
Yet if hope has flown away 
In a night, or in a clay, 
In a vision, or in none, 
Is it therefore the less gone? 
All that we see or seem 
Is but a dream within a dream. 



49 



I stand amid the roar 
Of a surf -tormented shore, 
And I hold within my hand 
Grains of the golden sand 



WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

How few ! yet how they creep 
Through my fingers to the deep, 
While I weep while I weep ! 
O God ! can I not grasp 
Them with a tighter clasp 1 
O God ! can I not save 
One from the pitiless wave 1 ? 
Is all that we see or seem 
But a dream within a dream? 



DREAM-LAND. 

Y a route obscure and lonely, 
Haunted by ill angels only, 
Where an Eidolon, named ]N"iGiiT, 
On a black throne reigns upright, 
I have reached these lands but newly 
From an ultimate dim Thule 
From a wild weird clime that lieth, sublime, 
Out of SPACE out of TIME. 

Bottomless vales and boundless floods, 
And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods, 
With forms that no man can discover 
For the dews that drip all over ; 
Mountains toppling evermore 
Into seas without a shore ; 
Seas that restlessly aspire, 
Surging, unto skies of fire ; 
Lakes that endlessly outspread 
Their lone waters lone and dead, 
Their still waters still and chilly 
With the snows of the lolling lily. 

By the lakes that thus outspread 
Their lone waters, lone and dead, 
Their sad waters, sad and chilly 
With the snows of the lolling lily, 
By the mountains near the river 
Murmuring lowly murmuring ever, 



DREAM-LAND. 

By the gray woods, by the swamp 
Where the toad and the newt encampr*- 
By the dismal tarns and pools 

"Where dwell the Ghouls, 
By each spot the most unholy 
In each nook most melancholy, 
There the traveller meets aghast 
Sheeted Memories of the Past- 
Shrouded forms that start and sigh 
As they pass the wanderer by 
White-robed forms of friends long given, 
In agony, to the Earth and Heaven. 


For the heart whose woes are legion 
Tis a peaceful, soothing region 
For the spirit that walks in shadow 
Tis oh tis an Eldorado ! 
But the traveller, travelling through it } 
May not dare not openly view it ; 
Never its mysteries are exposed 
To the weak human eye unclosed ; 
So wills its King, who hath forbid 
The uplifting of the fringed lid ; 
And thus the sad Soul that here passes 
Beholds it but through darkened glasses, 

By a rout obscure and lonely, 
Haunted by ill angels only, 
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT, 
On a black fhrone reigns upright, 
I have wandered home but newly 
From this ultimate dim Thule. 



TO ZANTE. 

1 AIR isle, that from the fairest of all flowers, 
Thy gentlest of all gentle names dost take ! 

How many memories of what radiant hours 
At sight of thee and thine at once awake ! 

4-2 



WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN 

How many scenes of what departed bliss ! 

How many thoughts of what entombed hopes 1 
How many visions of a maiden that is 

No more no more upon thy verdant slopes ! 
No more ! alas, that magical sad sound 

Transforming all ! Thy charms shall please no more~* 
Thy memory no more! Accursed ground 

Henceforth I hold thy flower-enamelled shore, 
O hyacinthine isle ! O purple Zante ! 

" Isola d oro ! Fior di Levante !" 



EULALIE. 

DWELT alone 
|lj In a world of moan, 
And my soul was a stagnant tide, 

Till the fair and gentle Eulalie became my blushing bride- 
Till the yellow-haired young Eulalie became my smiling bride. 

Ah, less less bright 
The stars of the night 
Than the eyes of the radiant girl j 
And never a flake 
That the vapour can make 
With the moon-tints of purple and pearl, 
Can vie with the modest Eulalie s most unregarded curl- 
Can compare with the bright-eyed Eulalie s most humble and 
careless curl. 

Now Doubt now Pain 
Come never again, 
For her soul gives me sigh for sigh, 
And all day long 
Shines bright and strong, 
A starts within the sky, 

While ever to her dear Eulalie upturns her matron eyo 
While ever to her young Eulalie upturns her violet eye. 



ELDORADO. 53 



ELDORADO. 



bedight, 
A gallant knight, 

In sunshine and in shadow, 
Had journeyed 
Singing a song, 

In search of Eldorado. 

But he grew old 
This knight so bold 

And o er his heart a shadow 
Fell as he found 
No spot of ground 

That looked like Eldorado. 

And, as his strength 
Failed him at length, 

He met a pilgrim shadow 
" Shadow," said he, 
"Where can it be 

This land of Eldorado?" 

" Over the Mountains 

Of the Moon, 
Down the Valley of the Shadow. 

Ride, boldly ride," 

The shade replied, 
** If you seek for Eldorado P 



ISRAFEL.* 

|N Heaven a spirit doth dwell 

" Whose heart-strings are a lute ;" 
None sing so wildly well 
As the angel Israfel, 

And the angel Israfel, whose heart-strings are a lute, and who has 
sweetest voice of all God s creatu res, KOKAN. 



54 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOR. 

And the giddy stars (so legends tell) 
Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell 
Of his voice, all mute. 

Tottering above 
In her highest noon, 
The enamoured moon 
) Blushes with love, 

While, to listen, the red levin 
(With the rapid Pleiads, even. 
Which were seven,) 
Pauses in Heaven, 

And they say (the starry choir 
And the other listening things) 

That Israf eli s fire 

Is owing to that lyre. 
By which he sits and sings-^- 

The trembling living wire 

Of those unusual strings, 

But the skies that angel trod, 
Where deep thoughts are a duty 

Where Love s a grown-up God 
Where the Houri glances are 

Imbued with all the beauty 
Which we worship in a star. 

Therefore, thou art not wrong, 
Israfeli, who despisest 

An unimpassioned song ; 

To thee the laurels belong, 
Best bard, because the wisest ! 

Merrily live, and long ! 
* 
i , The ecstasies above 

With thy burning measures suit 

Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love. 
With the fervour of thy lute 
Well may the stars be mute ! 



ISRAFEL. 

Yes, Heaven is thine ; but this 
Is a world of sweets and sours ; 
Our flowers are merely flowers, 

And the shadow of thy perfect bliss 
Is the sunshine of ours. 

If I could dwell 
Where Israfel 

Hath dwelt, and he where I, 
He might not sing so wildly well 

A mortal melody, 
While a bolder note than this might swell 

From my lyre within the sky. 



FOR ANNIE. 



ii HANK Heaven ! the crisis-^- 

The danger is past, 
And the lingering illness 

Is over at last 
And the fever called " Living 
Is conquered at last. 

Sadly, I know, 

I am shorn of my strength, 
And no muscle I move 

As I lie at full length 
But no matter ! I feel 

I am better at length. 

And I rest so composed. 

Now, in my bed, 
That any beholder 

Might fancy me dead 
Might start at beholding mej 

Thinking me dead. 



56 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

The moaning and groaning, 
The sighing and sobbing 

Are quieted now, 

With that horrible throbbing 

At heart : ah, that horrible, 
Horrible throbbing ! 



The sickness the nausea 
The pitiless pain 

Have ceased, with the fever 
That maddened my brain 

With the fever called " Living" 
That burned in my brain . 

And oh ! of all tortures 

That torture the worst 
Has abated the terrible 

Torture of thirst 
For the naphthaline river 

Of Passion accurst : 
I have drank of a water 

That -quenches all thirst : 

Of a water that flows, 

With a lullaby sound, 
From a spring but a very few 

Feet under ground 
From a cavern not very far 

Down under ground. 

And ah ! let it never 

Be foolishly said 
That my room it is gloomy 

And narrow my bed ; 
For man never slept 

In a different bed 
And, to sleep, you must slumber 

In just such a bed. 



FOR ANNIE. 57 

My tantalized spirit 

Here blandly reposes, 
Forgetting, or never 

Regretting its roses 
Its old agitations 

Of myrtles and roses : 

For now, -while so quietly 

Lying, it fancies 
A holier odour 

About it, of pansies 
A rosemary odour, 

Commingled with pansies 
With rue and the beautiful 

Puritan pansies. 

And so it lies happily, 

Bathing in many 
A dream of the truth 

And the beauty of Annie 
Drowned in a bath 

Of the tresses of Annie. 

-7 
She tenderly kissed me, 

She fondly caressed, 
And then I fell gently 

To sleep on her breast 
Deeply to sleep 

From the heaven of her breast. 

When the light was extinguished, 

She covered me warm, 
And she prayed to the angels 

To keep me from harm- 
To the queen of the angels 

To shield me from harm. 

And I lie so composedly, 

Now, in my bed, 
(Knowing her love) 

That you fancy me dead 



53 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

And I rest so contentedly, 

Now in my bed, 
(With her love at my breast) 

That you fancy me dead 
That you shudder to look at me, 

Thinking me dead : 

But my heart it is brighter 

Than all of the many 
Stars in the sky, 

For it sparkles with Annie- 
It glows with the light 

Of the love of my Annie 
With the thought of the light 

Of the eyes of my Annie, 



TO . 

HEED not that my earthly lot 
Hath little of Earth in it 
That years of love have been forgot 

In the hatred of a minute : 
I mourn not that the desolate 

Are happier, sweet, than I, 
But that you sorrow for my fate 

Who am a passer by. 



BRIDAL BALLAD. 

| HE ring is on my hand, 

And the wreath is on my brow ; 
Satins and jewels grand 
Are all at my command, 
And I am happy now. 

And my lord he loves me well ; 

But, when first he breathed his vow, 
\ felt my bosom swell 



BRIDAL BALLAD. 59 

For the words rang as a knell, 
And the voice seemed his who fell 
In the battle down the dell, 
And who is happy now, 

But he spoke to re-assure me, 

And he kissed my pallid brow, 
While a reverie came o er me, 
And to the church-yard bore me, 
And I sighed to him before me, 
Thinking him dead D Elormie, 

* Oh, I am happy now !* 

And thus the words were spoken, 

And this the plighted vow, 
And, though niy faith be broken, 
And, though my heart be broken, 
Behold the golden token 

That proves me happy now ! 

Would God I could awaken ! 

For I dream I know not how, 
And my soul is sorely shaken 
Lest an evil step be taken, 
Lest the dead who is forsaken 

May not be happy now. 



T O F . 

1ELOVED ! amid the earnest woes 

That crowd around my earthly path- 
(Drear path, alas ! where grows 
Not even one lonely rose) 

My soul at least a solace hath 
In dreams of thee, and therein knows 
An Eden of bland repose. 

And thus my memory is to me 

Like some enchanted far-off isle 
In some tumultuous sea 
ome ocean throbbing far and free 



A 



60 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

With storms but where meanwhile 
Serenest skies continually 
Just o er that one bright island smile. 



SCENES FROM " POLITIAN f 
AN UNPUBLISHED DRAMA. 

I. 
ROME. A Hall in a Palace. Alessandra and Castiglione. 

LESSANDRA. Thou art sad, Castiglione, 

Castiglione. Sad ! not I. 
Oil, I m the happiest, happiest man in Rome ! 
A few days more, thou knowest, my Alessandra, 
Will make thee mine. Oh, I am very happy ! 

Aless. Methinks thou hast a singular way of showing 
Thy happiness ! what ails thee, cousin of mine ? 
Why didst thou sigh so deeply ? 

Gas. Did I sigh] 

I was not conscious of it. It is a fashion, 
A silly a most silly fashion I have 
When I am very happy. Did I sigh 1 ? (Sighing,) 

Aless. Thou didst. Thou art not well. Thou hast indulged 
Too much of late, and I am vexed to see it. 
Late hours and wine, Castiglione, these 
Will ruin thee ! thou art already altered 
Thy looks are haggard nothing so wears away 
The constitution as late hours- and wine. 

Gas. (musing). Nothing, fair cousin, nothing not even deep 

sorrow- 
Wears it away like evil hours and wine. 
I will amend. 

Aless. Do it ! I would have thee drop 
Thy riotous company, too fellows low born- 
Ill suit the like with old Di Broglio s heir 
And Alessandra s husband. 

Gas. I will drop them. 

Aless. Thou wilt thou must. Attend thou also more 
To thy dress and equipage they are over plain 



SCENES FROM POLITIAN. " 61 

For thy lofty rank and fashion much depends 
Upon appearances. 

Cos. I ll see to it. 

Aless. Then see to it ! pay more attention, sir, 
To a becoming carriage much thou wantest 
In dignity. 

Gas. Much, much, oh much I want 
In proper dignity. 

Aless. (haughtily}. Thou mockest me, sir ! 

Cas. (abstractedly). Sweet, gentle Lalage ! 

Aless. Heard I aright ? 
I speak to him he speaks of Lalage ! 
Sir Count! (places her hand on his shoulder) what art thou 

dreaming 1 he s not well ! 
What ails thee, sir % 

Gas. (starting). Cousin ! fair cousin ! madam ! 
I crave thy pardon indeed I am not well 
Your hand from off my shoulder, if you please. 
This air is most oppressive ! Madam the Duke ! 
Enter Di Broglio. 

Di Broglio. My son, I ve news for thee ! hey 1 what s the 

matter] (observing Alessandra.) 
P the pouts 1 Kiss her, Castiglione ! kiss her, 
You dog ! and make it up, I say, this minute ! 
I ve news for you both. Politian is expected 
Hourly in Rome Politian, Earl of Leicester ! 
We ll have him at the wedding. 7 Tis his first visit 
To the imperial city. 

Aless. What! Politian 
Of Britain, Earl of Leicester ] 

Li Brog. The same, my love. 

We ll have him at the wedding. A man quite young 
In years, but grey in fame. I have not sean him, 
But Rumour speaks of him as of a prodigy 
Pre-eminent in arts and arms, and wealth, 
And high descent. We ll have him at the wedding. 

Aless. I have heard much of this PoHtian. 
Gay, volatile and giddy is he not ] 
And little given to thinking. 

Di Brog. Far from it, love. 



62 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOB. 

No branch, they say, of all philosophy 
So deep abstruse he has not mastered it. 
Learned as few are learned. 

Aless. J Tis very strange ! 
I have known men have seen Politian 
And sought his company. They speak of him 
As of one who entered madly into life, 
Drinking the cup of pleasure to the dregs. 

Cas. Ridiculous ! Now / have seen Politian 
And know him well nor learned nor mirthful he. 
He is a dreamer and a man shut out 
From common passions, 

Di Erog. Children, we disagree. 
Let us go forth and taste the fragrant air 
Of the garden. Did I dream, or did I hear 
Politian was a melancholy man 1 (JZxeunt. ) 



11 

. -^A Lady s apartment, with a window open and looking into a 
garden. Lalage, in deep mourning, reading at a table on which lie 
some books and a hand mirror. In the back ground Jacinta (a servant 
maid) leans carelessly upon a chair. 

Lai. Jacinta ! is it thou *? 
Jac. (pertly}. Yes, ma am, I m here. 
Lai. I did not know, Jacinta, you were in waiting. 
Sit down ! let not my presence trouble you 
Sit down ! for I am humble, most humble. 
Jac. (aside). Tis time. 

(Jacinta seats herself in a side-long manner upon the 
chair, resting her elboivs upon the back, and regard 
ing her mistress with a contemptuous look, Lalaye 
continues to read.} 

Lai. "It in another climate, so he said, 
Bore a bright golden flower, but not J i this soil l n 

(Pauses turns over some leaves, and resumes.) 
" No lingering winters there, nor snow, nor shower 
But Ocean ever to refresh mankind 



SCENES FROM " POL1TIAN? 63 

Breathes the shrill spirit of the western wind." 

Oh, beautiful ! most beautiful ! how like 

To what my fevered soul doth dream of Heaven ! 

O happy land ! (pauses.) She died ! the maiden died ! 

O still more happy maiden who couldst die ! 

Jacinta ! 

(Jacinta returns no answer, and Lalage presently resumes.) 

Again ! a similar tale 

Told of a beauteous dame beyond the sea ! 

Thus speaketh one Ferdinand in the words of the play 

" She died full young " one Bossola answers him 

" I think not so her infelicity 

Seemed to have years too many" Ah, luckless lady 1 

Jacinta ! (Still no answer.} 

Here s a far sterner story 
But like oh, very like in its despair 
Of that Egyptian queen, winning so easily 
A thousand hearts losing at length her own. 
She died. Thus endeth the history and her maids 
Lean over her and weep two gentle maids 
With gentle names Eiros and Charmion ! 
Rainbow and Dove! Jacinta ! 

Jac. (pcttithly). Madam, what is it ? 

Lai. Wilt thou, my good Jacinta, be so kind 
As go down in the library and bring me 
The Holy Evangelists 1 

Jac. Pshaw ! (Exit.} 

Lai. If there be balm 

For the wounded spirit in Gilead it is there ! 
Dew in the night time of my bitter trouble 
Will there be found " dew sweeter far than that 
Which hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon hill." 

(lie-enter Jacinta, and throws a volume on the talle.) 
There, ma am, s the book. (Aside.) Indeed she is very troublesome. 
Lai. (astonished). What didst thou say, Jacinta 1 Have done 

aught 

To grieve thee or to vex thee ? I am sorry. 
For thou hast served me long and ever been 
Trustworthy and respectful, (Resumes her reading.) 



64 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

Jac. (aside.} I can t believe 
She has any more jewels no no she gave me all. 

Lai. What didst thou say, Jacinta 1 Now I bethink me 
Thou hast not spoken lately of thy wedding. 
How fares good Ugo 1 and when is it to be 1 
Can I do aught ? is there no farther aid 
Thou needest, Jacinta ? 

Jac. (aside). Is there no farther aid ! 
That s meant for me. I m sure, madam, you need not 
Be always throwing those jewels in my teeth. 

Lai. Jewels ! Jacinta, now indeed, Jacinta, 
I thought not of the jewels. 

Jac. Oh ! perhaps not ! 
But then I might have sworn it. After all 
There s Ugo says the ring is only paste, 
For he s sure the Count Castiglione never 
Would have given a real diamond to such as you ; 
And at the best I m certain, madam, you cannot 
Have use for jewels now. But I might have sworn ii (Exit.} 

(Lalage bursts into tears and leans her head upon the 
table after a short pause raises it.) 

Lai. Poor Lalage ! and is it to come to this 1 
Thy servant maid ! but courage ! tis but a viper 
Who thou hast cherished to sting thee to the soul ! 

(Taking up the mirror.} 

Ha ! here at least s a friend too much a friend 

In earlier days a friend will not deceive thee. 

Fair mirror and true ! now tell me (for thou canst) 

A tale a pretty tale and heed thou not 

Though it be rife with woe. It answers me. 

It speaks of sunken eyes, and wasted cheeks, 

And Beauty long deceased remembers me 

Of Joy departed Hope, the Seraph Hope$ 

Inurned and intombed ! now, in a tone 

Low, sad, and solemn, but most audible. 

Whispers of early grave untimely yawning 

For ruined maid. Fair mirror and true I thou liest not I 

Thou hast no end to gain no heart to break 



SCENES FROM " POHT2AN." 65 

Castiglione lied who said lie loved 

Tliou true lie false ! false ! false ! 

{While she apeafo, a monk enters her apartment, and ap 
proaches unobserved.} 

Monk. Refuge tliou hast, 

S \veet daughter ! in Heaven. Think of eternal things ! 
Give up thy soul to penitence, and pray! 

Lai. (arising hurriedly}. I cannot pray ! My soul is at war 

with God ! 

The frightful sounds of merriment below 
Disturb my sensesgo ! I cannot pray 
The sweet airs from the garden worry me ! 
Thy presence grieves me go ! -thy priestly raiment 
Fills me with dread thy ebony crucifix 
With horror and awe ! 

Monk. Think of thy precious soul ! 

Lai. Think of my early days ! think of my father 
And mother in Heaven ! think of our quiet home, 
And the rivulet that ran before the door ! 
Think of my little sisters ! think of them ! 
And think of me ! think of my trusting love 
And confidence his vows my ruin think think 

Of my unspeakable misery ! begone ! 

Yet stay ! yet stay ! what was it thou saidst of prayer 
And penitence 1 Didst thou not speak of faith 
And vows before the throne 1 

Monk. I did. 

Lai. Tiswell. 

There is a vow were fitting should be made 
A sacred vow, imperative, and urgent, 
A solemn vow.! 

Monk. Daughter, this zeal is well ! 

Lai. Father, this zeal is anything but well ! 
Hast thou a crucifix fit for this thing 1 
A. crucifix whereon to register 
This sacred vow ] (He hands her his own.} 

Not that Oh ! no ! no ! no ! (Shuddering) 

Not that ! Not that ! I tell thce, holy man. 
Thy raiments and thy ebony cross affright nie ! 
Stand back ! I have a crucifix myself, 



66 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

I have a crucifix ! Methinks twere fitting 
The deed the vow the symbol of the deed 
And the deed s register should tally, father ! 

(Draws a cross-handled dagger and raises it on high. ) 
Behold the cross wherewith a vow like mine 
Is written in Heaven ! 

Monk. Thy words are madness, daughter. 
And speak a purpose unholy thy lips are livid 
Thine eyes are wild tempt not the wrath divine ! 
Pause ere too late ! oh be not be not rash ! 
Swear not the oath oh swear it not ! 

Lai. Tis sworn! 



III. 



An apartment in a palace. Politian and Baldazzar 

Baldazzar, Arouse thee now, Politian ! 

Thou must not nay indeed, indeed, thou shalt not 
Give way unto these humours. Be thyself ! 
Shake off the idle fancies that beset thee, 
And live, for now thou cliest ! 

Politian. Not so, Baldazzar ! 
Surely I live. 

Bal. Politian, it doth grieve me 
To see thee thus. 

Pol. Baldazzar, it doth grieve me 
To give thee cause for grief, my honoured friend. 
Command me, sir ! what wouldst thou have me do ] 
At thy behest I will shake oft that nature 
Which from my forefathers I did inherit, 
Which with my mother s milk I did imbibe, 
And be no more Politian, but some other. 
Command me, sir ! 

Bal To the field then to the field- 
To the senate or the field. 

Pol. Alas ! alas ! 
There is an imp would follow me even there ! 



SCENES FROM " POL1 TIAN. n 67 

There is an imp hath followed me even there ! 
There is what voice was that ? 

Bal. I heard it not. 

I heard not any voice except thine own, 
And the echo of thine own. 

Pol. Then I but dreamed. 

Bal Give not thy soul t0 dreams : the camp the court 
Befit thee Fame awaits thee Glory calls 
And her the trump et-tongued thou wilt not hear 
In hearkening to imaginary sounds 
And phantom voices. 

Pol. It is a phantom voice ! 
Didst thou not hear it then? 

Bal. I heard it not. 

Pol. Thou heardst it not ! Baldazzar, speak no more 
To me, Politian, of thy camps and courts. 
Oh ! I am sick, sick, sick, even unto death, 
Of the hollow and high-sounding vanities 
Of the populous Earth ! Bear with me yet awhile ! 
We have been boys together school-fellows 
And now are friends yet shall not be so long 
For in the eternal city thou shalt do me 
A kind and gentle office, and a Power 
A Power august, benignant and supreme 
Shall then absolve thee of all farther duties 
Unto thy friend. 

Bal. Thou speakest a fearful riddle 
I ivill not understand. 

Pol. Yet now as Fate 

Approaches, and the Hours are breathing low, 
The sands of Time are changed to golden grains, 
And dazzle me, Baldazzar. Alas ! alas ! 
I cannot die, having within my heart 
So keen a relish for the beautiful 
As hath been kindled within it. Methinks the air 
Is balmier now than it was wont to be 
Pdch melodies are floating in the winds 
A rarer loveliness bedecks the earth 
And with a holier lustre the quiet moon 
Sitteth in Heaven, Hist ! hist ! thou canst not say 

5-2 



68 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

Thou nearest not now, Baldazzar 1 
Bal. Indeed I hear not. 

Pol. Not hear if? listen now listen ! the faintest sound 
And yet the sweetest that ear ever heard ! 
A lady s voice ! and sorrow in the tone ! 
Baldazzar, it oppresses me like a spell ! 
Again ! again ! how solemnly it falls 
Into my heart of hearts ! that eloquent voice 
Surely I never heard yet it were well 
Had I but heard it with its thrilling tones 
In earlier days ! 

Bal I myself hear it now. 
Be still ! the voice, if I mistake not greatly, 
Proceeds from yonder lattice which you may see 
Very plainly through the window it belongs, 
Does it not 1 unto this palace of the Duke. 
The singer is undoubtedly beneath 
The roof of his Excellency and perhaps 
Is even that Alessandra of whom he spoke 
As the betrothed of Castiglione, 
His son and heir. 
Pol. Be still ! it comes again ! 

Voice "And is thy heart so strong 
(very faintly.) As for to leave me thus 

Who hath loved thee so long 
In wealth and woe among 1 
And is thy heart so strong 
As for to leave me thus ] 

Say nay say nay !" 

Sal. The song is English, and I oft have heard it 
In merry England never so plaintively 
Hist ! hist ! it comes again ! 

Voice " Is it so strong 

(more loudly.) As for to leave me thus 

Who hath loved thee so long 
In wealth and woe among 1 
And is thy heart so strong 
As for to leave me thus 1 

Say nay say nay!" 
Bal Tis hushed and all is still ! 



SCENES FROM "POLITIAN." 6$ 

Pol. All is not still. 

Bal. Let us go down. 

Pol. Go down, Baldtazzar, go 

.. The hour is growing late the Duke awaits us, 
Thy presence is expected in the hall 
Below. What ails thee, Earl Politian 1 

Voice " Who hath loved thee so long* 
(distinctly.) In wealth and woe among, 
And is thy heart so strong 1 

Say nay say nay 1" 

Bal. Let us descend ! tis time. Politian, give 
These fancies to the wind. Eemember, pray, 
Your bearing lately savoured much of rudeness 
Unto the Duke. Arouse thee ! and remember ! 

Pol. Remember ? I do. Lead on ! I do remember; 

(going.) 

Let us descend. Believe me I would give, 
Freely would give the broad lands of my earldom 
To look upon the face hidden by yon lattice 
" To gaze upon that veiled face, and hear 
Once more that silent tongue. 5> 

Bal. Let me beg you, sir, 
Descend with me the Duke may be offended. 
Let us go down, I pray you. 

Voice (loudly). Say nay ! say nay ! 

Pol. (aside). Tis strange! tis very strange methought the 

voice 
Chimed in with my desires and bade me stay ! 

(Approaching the window.) 
Sweet voice ! I heed thee, and will surely stay. 
Now be this Fancy, by Heaven, or be it Fate, 
Still will I not descend. Baldazzar, make 
Apology unto the Duke for me ; 
I go not down to-night. 

Bal. Your lordship s pleasure 
Shall be attended to. Good night, Politian. 

Pol Good night, my friend, good night. 



?o WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

IV. 

The gardens of a palace Moonlight, Lalage and Politian 

Ldlaye. And dost thou speak of love 
To me, Politian 1 dost thou speak of love 
To Lalage 1 ah woe ah woe is me ! 
This mockery is most cruel most cruel indeed ! 

Politian. Weep not ! oh, sob not thus ! thy bitter tears 
Will madden me. Oh, mourn not, Lalage 
Be comforted ! I know I know it all, 
And still I speak of love. Look at me, brightest, 
And beautiful Lalage ! turn here thine eyes ! 
Thou askest me if I could speak of love, 
Knowing what I know, and seeing what I have seen. 
Thou askest me that and thus I answer thee 
Thus on my bended knee I answer thee. (Kneeling.) 

Sweet Lalage, / love thee love thee love thee; 
Thro good and ill thro weal and woe I love thee. 
Not mother, with her first born on her knee, 
Thrills with intenser love than I for thee. 
Not on God s altar, in any time or clime, 
Burned there a holier fire than burneth now 
Within my spirit for thee. And do I love 1 ? (Arising.) 

Even for thy woes I love thee even for thy woes 
Thy beauty and thy woes. 

Lai. Alas, proud Earl, 
Thou dost forget thyself, remembering me ! 
How, in thy father s halls, among the maidens 
Pure and reproachless of thy princely line, 
Could the dishonoured Lalage abide 1 
Thy wife, and with a tainted memory 
My seared and blighted name, how would it tally 
With the ancestral honours of thy house, 
And with thy glory ? 

Pol. Speak not to me of glory ! 
I hate I loathe the name ; I do abhor 
The unsatisfactory and ideal thing. 
Art thou not Lalage and I Politian ) 



SCENES FROM 11 POLITIAN." 7 1 

Do I not love 1 art thou not beautiful 1 

What need we more 1 Ha ! glory ! now speak not of it : 

By all I hold most sacred and most solemn 

By all my wishes now my fears hereafter 

By all I scorn on earth and hope in heaven 

There is no deed I would more glory in, 

Than in thy cause to scoff at this same glory 

And trample it underfoot. What matters it 

What matters it, my fairest, and my best, 

That we go down unhonoured and forgotten 

Into the dust so we descend together 1 

Descend together and then and then perchance 

Lai. Why dost thou pause, Politian ? 

Pol. And then perchance 
Arise together, Lalage, and roam 
The starry and quiet dwellings of the blest, 
And still 

Lai. Why dost thou pause, Politian 1 

Pol. And still together together. 

Lai. Now, Earl of Leicester ! 
Thou lovest me, and in my heart of hearts 
I feel thou lovest me truly. 

Pol. Oh, Lalage ! ( Throwing himself upon his knee. ) 

And lovest thou me ? 

Lai. Hist ! hush ! within the gloom 
Of yonder trees methought a figure past 
A spectral figure, solemn, and slow, and noiseless 
Like the grim shadow Conscience, solemn and noiseless. 

(Walks across and returns.) 
I was mistaken twas but a giant bough 
Stirred by the autumn wind. Politian ! 

Pol. My Lalage my love ! why art thou moved 1 
Why dost thou turn so pale 1 Not Conscience self, 
Far less a shadow which thou likenest to it, 
Should shake the firm spirit thus. But the night- wind 
Is chilly and these melancholy boughs 
Throw over all things a gloom. 

Lai Politian! 

Thou speakest to me of love. Knowest thou the land 
With which all tongues are busy a land newfound 



72 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

Miraculously found by one of Genoa 

A thousand leagues within the golden west 1 

A fairy land of flowers, and fruit, and sunshine, 

And crystal lakes, and over-arching forests, 

And mountains, around whose towering summits the wind* 

Of Heaven untrammelled flow which air to breathe 

Is Happiness now, and will be Freedom hereafter 

In days that are to come ? 

Pol 0, wilt thou wilt thou 
Fly to that Paradise my Lalage, wilt thou 
Fly thither with me 1 There Care shall be forgotten, 
And Sorrow shall be no more, and Eros be all. 
And life shall then be mine, for I will live 
For thee, and in thine eyes and thou shalt be 
No more a mourner but the radiant Joys 
Shall wait upon thee, and the angel Hope 
Attend thee ever ; and I will kneel to thee 
And worship thee, and call thee my beloved. 
My own, my beautiful, my love, my wife, 
My all ; oh, wilt thou wilt thou, Lalage, 
Fly thither with me 1 ? 

LaL A deed is to be done 
Castiglione lives ! 

Pol. And he shall die ! (Exit.) 

Lai. (after a pause). And he shall die alas I 

Castiglione die 1 Who spoke the words 1 

Where am I ? what was it he said 1 Politian ! 

Thou art not gone thou art not gone, Politian ! 

I feel thou art not gone yet dare not look, 

Lest I behold thee not ; thou couldst not go 

With those words upon thy lips O, speak to me ! 

And let me hear thy voice one word one word, 

To say thou art not gone, one little sentence, 

To say how thou dost scorn how thou dost hate 

My womanly weakness. Ha ! ha ! thou art not gone 

speak to me ! I knew thou wouldst not go ! 

1 knew thou wouldst not, couldst not, durst not go. 
Villain, thou art not gone thou mockest me ! 

And thus I clutch thee thus ! He is gone, he is gone- 
Gone gone. Where am I ? tis well tis very well ! 



SCENES FROM "POLITIAN" 

So that the blade be keen the blow be sure, 
? Tis well, tis very well alas ! alas I 



V. 

(The suburbs. Politian alone. 

Politian. This weakness grows upon me. I am faint, 
And much I fear me ill it will not do 
To die ere I have lived! Stay stay thy hand, 
Azrael, yet awhile ! Prince of the Powers 
Of Darkness and the Tomb, pity me I 
O pity me ! let me not perish now, 
In the budding of my Paradisal Hope! 
Give me to live yet yet a little while : 
Tis I who pray for life I who so late 
Demanded but to die! what sayeth the Count? 
Enter Baldazzar. 

Baldazzar. That knowing no cause of quarrel or of feud 
Between the Earl Politian and himself, 
He doth decline your cartel. 

Pol. What didst thou say ? 

What answer was it you brought me, good Baldazzar ? 
With what excessive fragrance the zephyr conies 
Laden from yonder bowers! a fairer day, 
Or one more worthy Italy, methinks 
No mortal eyes have seen ! ivhat said the Count ? 

Bal. That he, Castiglione, not being aware 
Of any feud existing, or any cause 
Of quarrel between your lordship and himself 
Cannot accept the challenge. 

Pol. It is most true 
All this is very true. When saw you, sir, 
When saw you now, Baldazzar, in the frigid 
Ungenial Britain which we left so lately, 
A heaven so cairn as this so utterly free 
From the evil taint of clouds ? and he did say ? 

Bal. No more, my lord, than I have told you, sir . 
The Count Castiglione will not fight, 
Having no cause or quarrel. 



74 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN PO&. 

Pol. Now this is true 
All very true. Thou art my friend, Baldazzar, 
And I have not forgotten it thou lt do me 
A piece of service ; wilt thou go back and say 
Unto this man, that I, the Earl of Leicester, 
Hold him a villain ? thus much, I prythee, say 
Unto the Count it is exceeding just 
He should have cause for quarrel. 

Bal My lord ! my friend 

Pol. (aside) . Tis he he comes himself ! (Aloud.) Thou reason- 

est well. 

I know what thou wouldst say not send the message- 
Well ! I will think of it I will not send it. 
Now prithee, leave me hither doth come a person 
With whom affairs of a most private nature 
I would adjust. 

Ual. I go to-morrow we meet, V 
Do we not ? at the Vatican. 

Pol. At the Vatican. (Exit Sal) 

Enter Castiglione. 

Cas. The Earl of Leicester here ! 

Pol I am the Earl of Leicester, and thou seest, 
Dost thou not 1 that I am here. 

Cas. My lord, some strange, 
Some singular mistake misunderstanding 
Hath without doubt arisen : thou hast been urged 
Thereby, in heat of anger, to address 
Some words most unaccountable, in writing, 
To me, Castiglione ; the bearer being 
Baldazzar, Duke of Surrey. I am aware 
Of nothing which might warrant thee in this thing, 
Having given thee no offence. Ha ! am I right? 
Twas a mistake 1 undoubtedly we all 
Do err at times. 

Pol Draw, villain, and prate no more ! 

Cas. Ha ! draw ! and villain ! have at thee then at once, 
Proud Earl ! (Draws.) 

Pol (drawing). Thus to the expiatory tomb, 
Untimely sepulchre, I do devote thee 
In the name of Lalage 1 



SCENES FROM " POL1TIAN? 7$ 

Cas. (letting fall his sword and recoiling to the extremity of the 

stage). 
OfLalage! 

Hold off thy sacred hand ! avaunt I say! 
Avaunt I will not fight thee indeed I dare not. 

Pol Thou wilt not fight with me didst say, Sir Count \ 
Shall I be baffled thus 1 now this is well ; 
Didst say thou darest not ? Ha ! 

Cas. I dare not dare not 
Hold off thy hand with that beloved name 
So fresh upon thy lips I will not fight thee 
I cannot dare not. 

Pol. Now by my halidom 
I do believe thee ! coward, I do believe thee ! 

Cas. Ha ! coward ! this may not be ! 

(Chttches his sword, and staggers towards Politian, but his pur 
pose is changed before reaching him, and he falls upon his 
knee at the feet of the Earl) 

Alas ! my lord, 

It is it is most true. In such a cause 
I am the veriest coward. O pity me ! 

Pol (greatly softened). Alas ! I do indeed I pity thee. 

Cas. And Lalage 

Pol Scoundrel ! arise and die / 

Cas. It needeth not be thus thus let me die 
Thus on my bended knee. It were most fitting 
That in this deep humiliation I perish. 
For in the fight I will not raise a hand 
Against thee, Earl of Leicester. Strike thou home (baring his 

bosom). 

Here is no let or hindrance to thy weapon- 
Strike home. I will not fight thee. 

Pol Now s Death and Hell ! 
Am I not am I not sorely grievously tempted 
To take thee at thy word ] But mark me, sir : 
Think not to fly me thus. Do thou prepare 
For public insult in the streets before 
The eyes of the citizens. I ll follow thee 
Like an avenging spirit I ll follow thee 
Even unto death. Before those whom thou lovest 



76 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

Before all Rome I ll taunt thee, villain I ll taunt thee, 

Dost hear 1 with cowardice thou wilt not fight me] 

Thou liest ! thou shaltf (Exit.) 

Cas. Now this indeed is just ! 
Most righteous, and most just, avenging Heaven 



POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH.* 

SONNET TO SCIENCE. 

[CIENCE ! true daughter of Old Time thou art ! 
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes. 
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet s heart, 

Vultute, whose wings are dull realities 1 
Hbw should he love thee 1 or how deem thee wise, 

Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering 
(To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies, 

Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing] 
tlast thou not dragged Diana from her car 1 

And driven the Hamadryad from the wood 
To seek a shelter in some happier star 1 

Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood> 
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me 
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree ? 

AL AARAAF.f 

PART I. 

! NOTHING earthly save the ray 
(Thrown back from flowers) of Beauty s eye, 
As in those gardens where the day 
Springs from the gems of Circassy 

Private reasons some of which have reference to the sin of plagiar 
ism, and others to the date of Tennyson s first poems have induced me, 
after some hesitation, to re-publish these, the crude compositions of my 
earliest boyhood. They are printed verbatim without alteration from 
the original edition the date of which is too remote to be judiciously 
acknowledged. E. A. P. 

f A star was discovered by Tycho Brahe which appeared suddenly in 
the heavens attained, in a few days, a brilliancy surpassing that of 
Jupiter then as suddenly disappeared, and has never been seen since, 



AL AARAAF. 77 

! nothing earthly save the thrill 
Of melody in woodland rill 
Or (music of the passion-hearted) 
Joy s voice so peacefully departed 
That like the murmur in the shell, 
Its echo dwelleth and will dwell 
O ! nothing of the dross of ours 
Yet all the beauty all the flowers 
That list our Love, and deck our bowers- 
Adorn yon world afar, afar 
The wandering star. 

Twas a sweet time for Nesace for there 
Her world lay lolling on the golden air, 
Near four bright suns a temporary rest 
An oasis ia desert of the blest. 
Away away mid seas of rays that roll 
Empyrean splendour o er the unchained soul 
The soul that scarce (the billows are so dense) 
Can struggle to its destin d eminence 
To distant spheres, from time to time, she rode, 
And late to ours, the favour d one of God 
But, now, the ruler of an anchor d realm, 
She throws aside the sceptre leaves the helm, 
And, amid incense and high spiritual hymns, 
Laves in quadruple light her angel limbs. 

Now happiest, loveliest in yon lovely Earth, 
Whence sprang the " Idea of Beauty " into birth, 
(Falling in wreaths thro many a startled star, 
Like woman s hair mid pearls, until, afar, 
It lit on hills Achaian, and there dwelt) 
She look d into Infinity and knelt. 
Rich clouds, for canopies, about her curled , 
Fit emblems of the model of her world 
Seen but in beauty not impeding sight 
Of other beauty glittering thro the light 
A wreath that twined each starry form around^ 
And all the opal d air in colour bound. 



73 WORK S OF EDGAR ALLAN POS. 

All hurriedly she knelt upon a bed 
Of flowers : of lilies such as rear d the head 
On the fair Capo Deucato,* and sprang 
So eagerly around about to hang 

Upon the flying footsteps of deep pride 

Of her who lov d a mortal and so died.t 
The Sephalica, budding with young bees, 
Uprear d its purple stem around her knees : 
And gemmy flower, of Trebizond misnam d \ 
Inmate of highest stars, where erst it sham d 
All other loveliness : its honied dew 
(The fabled nectar that the heathen knew) 
Deliriously sweet, was dropp d from Heaven, 
And fell on gardens of the unforgiven 
In Trebizond and on a sunny flower 
So like its own above that, to this hour, 
It still remain eth, torturing the bee 
With madness, and unwonted reverie : 
In Heaven, and all its environs, the leaf 
And blossom of the fairy plant, in grief 
Disconsolate linger grief that hangs her head, 
Repenting follies that full long have fled, 
Heaving her white breast to the balmy air, 
Like guilty beauty, chasten d, and more fair : 
Nyctanthes too, as sacred as the light 
She fears to perfume, perfuming the night : 
And Clytia pondering between many a sun, 
While pettish tears adown her petals run : 
And that aspiring flower that sprang on Earth. 
And died, ere scarce exalted into birth, j| 

* On Santa Maura olim Deucadia. 

t Sappho. 

J This flower is much noticed by Lewenhoeck and Tournefort. The 
bee, feeding upon its blossom, becomes intoxicated. 

Clytia The Chrysanthemum Peruvianum, or, to employ a better- 
known term, the turnsol which turns continually towards the sun, 
covers itself, like Peru, the country from which it comes, with dewy 
clouds which cool and refresh its flowers during the most violent heat of 
the day. B. de St. Pierre. 

|| There is cultivated in the king s garden at Paris, a species of serpen 
tine aloes without prickles, whose large and beautiful flower exhales a 
strong odour of the vanilla, during the time of its expansion, which is very 
short. It does not blow till towards the month of July you then per- 



AL AARAAF. 79 

Bursting its odorous heart in spirit to wing 

Its way to Heaven, from garden of a king : 

Arid Valisnerian lotus* thither flown 

From struggling with the waters of the Rhone : 

And thy most lovely purple perfume, Zaritelf 

Isola d oro ! Fior di Levante ! 

And the Nelumbo budj that floats for ever 

With Indian Cupid down the holy river 

Fair flowers, and fairy ! to whose care is given 

To bear the Goddess song, in odours, up to Heaven : 

" Spirit ! that dwellest where, 

In the deep sky, 
The terrible and fair, 

In beauty vie ! 
Beyond the line of blue 

The boundary of the star 
Which turueth at the view 

Of thy barrier and thy bar 
Of the barrier overgone 

By the comets who were cast 
From their pride, and from their throne 

To be drudges till the last- 
To be carriers of fire 

(The red fire of their heart) 
With speed that may not tire 

And with pain that shall not part 
Who livest that we know 

In Eternity we feel- 
But the shadow of whose brow 

What spirit shall reveal 1 



ceive it gradually open its petalsexpand them fade and die. St. 
Pierre. 

* There is found, in the Rhone, a beautiful lily of the Valisnerian 
kind. Its stem will stretch to the length of three or four feet thus 
preserving its head above -water in the swellings of the river. 

t The Hyacinth. 

J It is a fiction of the Indians, that Cupid was first seen floating in 
one of these down the river Ganges and that he still loves the cradle 
of his childhood. 

And golden vials full of odours which are the prayers of the saints. 
Kev. St. /oft* 



o WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

Tlio the beings whom thy Nesace, 

Thy messenger hath known 
Have dream d for thy Infinity 

A model of their own* 
Thy will is done, Oh, God ! 

The star hath ridden high 
Thro many a tempest, but she rode 

Beneath thy burning eye ; 
"And here, in thought, to thee 

In thought that can alone 
Ascend thy empire and so be 

A partner of thy throne 
By winged Fantasy,! 

My embassy is given, 
Till secrecy shall knowledge be 

In the environs of Heaven." 

She ceas d and buried then her burning cheelc 
Abash d, amid the lilies there, to seek 
A shelter from the fervour of His eye ; 
For the stars trembled at the Deity. 

* The Humanitarians held that God was to be understood as having 
really a human form. Vide Clarke s Sermons, vol. 1, page 2G, fol. edit. 
The drift of Milton s argument, leads him to employ language which 
would appear, at first sight, to verge upon their doctrine ; but it will be 
seen immediately, that he guards himself against the charge of having 
adopted one of the most ignorant errors of the dark ages of the church. 
Dr. Sumner s Notes on Milton s Christian Doctrine. 

This opinion, in spite of many testimonies to the contrary, could never 
have been very general. Andeus, a Syrian of Mesopotamia, was con 
demned for the opinion, as heretical. He lived in the beginning of the 
fourth century. His disciples were called Anthropomorphites. Vide Du 
Pm. 
Among Milton s minor poems are these lines : 

Dicite sacrorum prsesides nemorum Deoe, &c. 
Quis ille primus cujus ex imagine 
Natura solers finxit humanum genus ? 
Eternus, incorruptus, sequrevus polo, 
Unusque et universus exemplar Dei. And afterwards, 
Non cui profundum Coecitas lumen dedit 
Dircceus augur vidit Imnc alto sinu, &c. 
f Seltsamen Tochter Jovis 
Seinem Schosskinde 
Der Phantasie. Goethe. 



AL AARAAF. 

She stirr d not breath d not for a voice was there 

How solemnly pervading the calm air ! 

A sound of silence on the startled ear 

Which dreamy poets name "the music of the sphere." 

Ours is a world of words : Quiet we call 

" Silence " which is the merest word of all. 

All Nature speaks, and ev n ideal things 

Flap shadowy sounds from visionary wings 

But ah ! not so when, thus, in realms on high 

The eternal voice of God is passing by, 

And the red winds are withering in the sky ! 

" What tho in worlds which sightless* cycles run, 
Link d to a little system, and one sun- 
Where all my love is folly and the crowd 
Still think my terrors but the thunder cloud, 
The storm, the earthquake, and the ocean-wrath 
(Ah ! will they cross me in my angrier path ?) 
What tho in worlds which own a single sun 
The sands of Time grow dimmer as they run, 
Yet thine is my resplendency, so given 
To bear my secrets thro the upper Heaven. 
Leave tenantless thy crystal home, and fly, 
With all thy train, athwart the moony sky 
Apart like fire-fliest in Sicilian night, 
And wing to other worlds another light ! 
Divulge the secrets of thy embassy 
To the proud orbs that twinkle and so be 
To ev ry heart a barrier and a ban 
Lest the stars totter in the guilt of man !" 

Up rose the maiden in the yellow night, 
The single-mooned eve ! on Earth we plight 
Our faith to one love and one moon adore 
The birth-place of young Beauty had no more. 
As sprang that yellow star from downy hours 
Up rose the maiden from her shrine of flowers, 

* Sightless too small to be seen. Ley ye. 

t I have often noticed a peculiar movement of the h r j-Hies; they will 
collect in a body and fly oif, from a common centre, into innumerable 
radii. 



WORK S OF EDGAR ALLAN P0. 

And bent o er sheeny mountain and dim plain 
Her way but left not yet her Therasseau* reign. 



, PART. ii. 

High on a mountain of enamelPd head- 
Such as the drowsy shepherd on his bed 
Of giant pasturage lying at his ease, 
Raising his heavy eyelid, starts and sees 
With many a mutter d " hope to be forgiven " 
What time the moon is quadrated in Heaven 
Of rosy head, that towering far away 
Into the sunlit ether, caught the ray 
Of sunken suns at eveat noon of night, 
While the moon danc d with the fair stranger light- 1 * 
Uprear d upon such height arose a pile 
Of gorgeous columns on th unburthen d air, 
Flashing from Parian marble that twin smile 
Far down upon the wave that sparkled there, 
And nursled the young mountain in its lair. 
Of molten starsf their pavement, such as fall 
Thro the ebon air, besilvering the pall 
Of their own dissolution, while they die- 
Adorning then the dwellings of the sky. 
A dome, by linked light from Heaven let down, 
Sat gently on these columns as a crown 
A window of one circular diamond, there, 
Look d out above into the purple air, 
And rays from God shot down that meteor chain 
And hallo w d all the beauty twice again, 
Save when, between th Empyrean and that ring, 
Some eager spirit flapp d his dusky wing. 
But on the pillars Seraph eyes have seen 
The dimness of this world : that greyish green 
That Nature loves the best for Beauty s grave 
Lurk d in each cornice, round each architrave 

* Therassea, or Therasea, the island mentioned by Seneca, which, in 
a tiaoar ent, arose from the sea to the eyes of astonished mariners. 
If Some star which, from the ruin d roof 
Of shak d Olympus, by mischance did f all. Milton, 



AL AARAAP. 83 

And every sculptur d cherub thereabout 

That from his marble dwelling peered out, 

Seem d earthly in the shadow of his niche 

Achaian statues in a world so rich 1 

Priezes from Tadmor and Persepolis* 

Trom Balbec, and the stilly, clear abyss 

Of beautiful Gomorrah !f Oh ! the wave ! 

Is now upon thee but too late to save ! 

Sound loves to revel in a summer night : 
Witness the murmur of the grey twilight 
That stole upon the ear, in Eyraco.J 
Of many a wild star-gazer long ago 
That stealeth ever on the ear of him 
Who, musing, gazeth on the distance dim. 
And sees the darkness coming as a cloud 
Is not its form its voice most palpable and loud ? 

But what is this 1 it corneth and it brings 
A music with it tis the rush of wings 
A pause and then a sweeping, falling strain 
And Nesace is in her halls again. 
From the wild energy of wanton haste 

Her cheeks were flushing, and her lips apart ; 
And zone that clung around her gentle waist 

Had burst beneath the heaving of her heart. 

* Voltaire, in speaking of Persepolis, says, " Je connois bien 1 admir- 
ation qu inspirent ces ruines mais un palais erige au pied d une chaiiie 
des rochers sterils pent il etre un chef d ceuvre des arts !" 

f "Oh ! the wave" Ula Deguisi is the Turkish appellation ; but, on 
its own shores, it is called Bahar Loth, or Almotanah. There were un 
doubtedly more than two cities engulphed in the "dead sea." In the 
valley of Siddim were five Adrah, Zeboin, Zoar, Sodom and Gomorrah. 
Stephen of Byzantium mentions eight, and Stiabo thirteen (engulphed) 
but the last is out of all reason. 

It is said. [Tacitus, Strabo, Josephus, Daniel of St. Saba, Nau, Maun- 
drell, Troilo, DArvieux] that after an excessive drought, the vestiges of 
columns, walls, &c. are seen above the surface. At any season, such re 
mains may be discovered by looking down into the transparent lake, 
and at such distances as would argue the existence of many settlements 
in the space now usurped by the " Asphaltites." 

Eyraco Chaldea. 

I have often thought I could distinctly hear the sound of the dark 
ness as it stole over the horizon. 

6-2 



84 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN PO&. 

Within the centre of that hall to breathe 
She paus d and panted, Zanthe ! all beneath, 
The fairy light that kiss d her golden hair 
And long d to rest, yet could but sparkle therd ! 

Young flowers* were whispering in melody 
To happy flowers that night and tree to tree ; 
Fountains were gushing music as they fell 
In many a star-lit grove, or moon-lit dell ; 
Yet silence came upon material things 
Fair flowers, bright waterfalls and angel wings 
And sound alone that from the spirit sprang 
Bore burthen to the charm the maiden sang : 

" Neath blue-bell or streamer 

Or tufted wild spray 
That keeps, from the dreamer, 

The moonbeam awayt 
Bright beings ! that ponder, 

With half closing eyes, 
On the stars which your wonder 

Hath drawn from the skies, 
Till they glance thro the shade, and! 

Come down to your brow 
Like eyes of the maiden 

Who calls on you now 
Arise ! from your dreaming 

In violet bowers, 
To duty beseeming 

These star-litten hours- 
And shake from your tresses 

Encumber d with dew 
The breath of those kisses 

That cumber them too 

* Fairies use flowers for their charactery. Merry Wives of Windsor. 

f In Scripture is this passage "The sun shall not harm the e by day, 
nor the moon by night." It is perhaps not generally known that the 
moon, in Egypt, has the effect of producing blindness to those who 
sleep with the face exposed to it rays, to which circumstance the passage 
evidently alludes. 



AL AARAAF. 85 

(0 ! liow, without you, Love 1 
Could angels be blest 1) 

Those kisses of true love 
That lull d ye to rest ! 

Up ! shake from your wing 
Each hindering thing : 

The dew of the night- 
It would weigh down your flight ; 

And true love caresses 
O ! leave them apart ! 

They are light on the tresses, 
But lead on the heart. 

Ligeia ! Ligeia ! 

My beautiful one ! 
Whose harshest idea 

Will to melody run, 
! is it thy will 

On the breezes to toss 1 
Or, capriciously still, 

Like the lone Albatross,* 
Incumbent on night 

(As she on the air) 
To keep watch with delight 

On the harmony there 1 

Ligeia ! wherever 

Thy image may be, 
No magic shall sever 

Thy music from thee. 
Thou hast bound many eyes 

In a dreamy sleep- 
But the strains still arise 

Which thy vigilance keep 
The sound of the rain 

Which leaps down to the flower, 
And dances again 

In the rhythm of the shower 

* The Albatross is said to sleep on the wing. 



86 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POJS. 

The murmur that springs* 

From the growing of grass 
Are the music of things 

But are modell d, alas ! 
Away, then my dearest, 

! hie thee away 
To springs that lie clearest 

Beneath the moon-ray 
To lone lake that smiles, 

In its dream of deep rest, 
At the many star-isles 

That enjewel its breast 
Where wild flowers, creeping, 

Have mingled their shade, 
On its margin is sleeping 

Full many a maid 
Some have left the cool glade, and 

Have slept with the beet 
Arouse them my maiden, 

On moorland and lea 
Go ! breathe on their slumber, 

All softly in ear, 
The musical number 

They slumber d to hear-^ 
For what can awaken 

An angel so soon, 
Whose sleep hath been taken 

Beneath the cold moon, 



* I met with this idea in an old English tale, which I am now unable 
to obtain and quote from memory : " The verie essence and, as it were, 
springe-heade and origine of all musiche is the verie pleasaunte sounde 
which the trees of the forest do make when they growe." 

h The wild bee will not sleep in the shade if there be moonlight. 
The rhyme in this verse, as in one about sixty lines before, has an ap 
pearance of affectation. It is, however, imitated from Sir W. Scott, or 
rather from Claud Halero in whose mouth I admired its effect : 
! were there an island, 

Tho ever so wild 
Where woman might smile, and 
JDso man be beguil d, &c. 



AL AARAAF. 87 

As the spell which no slumber 

Of witchery may test, 
The rhythmical number 

Which lull d him to rest V 1 

Spirits in wing, and angels to the view, 

A thousand seraphs burst th Empyrean thro , 

Young dreams still hovering on their drowsy flight-* 

Seraphs in all but " Knowledge," the keen light 

That fell, refracted, thro thy bounds, afar 

Death ! from eye of God upon that star : 

Sweet was that error sweeter still that death 

Sweet was that error ev n with us the breath 

Of Science dims the mirror of our joy 

To them twere the Simoom, and would destroy 

For what (to them) availeth it to know 

That Truth is Falsehood or that Bliss is Woe ? 

Sweet was their death with them to die was rife 

With the last ecstasy of satiate life 

Beyond that death no immortality 

But sleep that pondereth and is not " to be " 

And there oh ! may my weary spirit dwell 

Apart from Heaven s Eternity and yet how far from Hell !* 

What guilty spirit, in what shrubbery dim, 

Heard not the stirring summons of that hymn ? 

But two : they fell : for Heaven no grace imparts 

To those who hear not for their beating hearts. 

* With the Arabians there is a medium between Heaven and Hell, 
where men suffer no punishment, but yet do not attain that tranquil 
and even happiness which they suppose to he characteristic of heavenly 
enjoyment. 

Un no rompido sueno 

Un dia puro allegre libre 

Quiera 

Libre de amor de zelo 

De odio de esperanza de rezelo. Luis Ponce de Leon. 
Sorrow is not excluded from "Al Aaraaf," but it is that sorrow which the 
living love to cherish for the dead, and which, in some minds, resembles 
the delmum of opium. The passionate excitement of Love and the 
buoyancy of spirit attendant upon intoxication are its less holy pleasures 
the price of which, to those souls who make choice of "Al Aaraaf" 
as the residence after life, is final death and annihilation. 



SS WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

A maiden-angel and her seraph-lover 
O ! where (and ye may seek the wide skies over) 
Was Love, the blind, near sober Duty known ] 
Unguided Love hath fallen mid " tears of perfect moan 

He was a goodly spirit he who fell : 

A wanderer by moss-y-mantled well 

A gazer on the lights that shine above 

A dreamer in the moonbeam by his love ! 

What wonder 1 for each star is eye-like there, 

And looks so sweetly down on Beauty s hair 

And they, and ev ry mossy spring were holy 

To his love-haunted heart and melancholy. 

The night had found (to him a night of woe) 

Upon a mountain crag, young Angelo 

Beetling it bends athwart the solemn sky, 

And scowls on starry worlds that down beneath it lie. 

Here sate he with his love his dark eye bent 

With eagle gaze along the firmament : 

Kow turn d it upon her but ever then 

It trembled to the orb of EARTH again. 

" lanthe, dearest, see ! how dim that ray ! 
How lovely tis to look so far away ! 
She seem d not thus upon that autumn eve 
I left her gorgeous halls nor mourn d to leave, 
That eve that eve I should remember well 
The sun-ray dropp d, in Lemnos, with a spell 
On tli Arabesque carving of a gilded hall 
Wherein I sate, and on the draperied wall - 
And on my eye-lids oh the heavy light ! 
How drowsily it weigh d them into night ! 
On flowers, before, and mist, and love they ran 
With Persian Saadi in his Gulistan ; 
But oh that light ! I slumber d Death, the while, 
Stole o er my senses in that lovely isle 
So softly that no single silken hair 
Awoke that slept or knew that he was there, 

* There be tears of perfect moan 
for thee in Helicon. 



AL AARAAF. 

" The last spot of Earth s orb I trod upon 
Was a proud temple call d the Parthenon* 
More beauty clung around her column d wall 
Than ev n thy glowing bosom beats withal,t 
And when old Time my wing did disenthral 
Thence sprang I as the eagle from his tower., 
And years I left behind me in an hour. 
What time upon her airy bounds I hung 
One half the garden of her globe was flung 
Unrolling as a chart unto my view 
Tenantless cities of the desert too ! 
lanthe, beauty crowded on me then, 
And half I wish d to be again of men." 

" My Angelo ! and why of them to be ? 
A brighter dwelling-place is here for thee 
And greener fields than in yon world above, 
And woman s loveliness and passionate love." 

" But, list, lanthe ! when the air so soft 
Fail d, as my pennon d spirit leapt aloft,t 
Perhaps my brain grew dizzy but the world 
I left so late was into chaos hurl d 
Sprang from her station, on the winds apart, 
And roll d, a flame, the fiery Heaven athwart. 
Methought, my sweet one, then I ceased to soar, 
And fell not swiftly as I rose before, 
But with a downward, tremulous motion thro 
Light, brazen rays, this golden star unto ! 
Nor long the measure of my falling hours. 
For nearest of all stars was thine to ours 
Dread star ! that came, amid a night of mirth, 
A red Daadalion on the timid Earth. 

" We came and to thy Earth but not to ua 
Be given our lady s bidding to discuss : 

* It was entire in 1687 the most elevated spot in Athens. 1 
f Shadowing more beauty in their airy brows 

Than have the white breasts of the Queen of Love. 
$ Pennon for pinion, Milton. 



90 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE* 

We came, my love ; around, above, below, 
Gay fire-fly of the night we come and go, 
Nor ask a reason save the angel-nod 
She grants to us, as granted by her God 
But, Angelo, than thine grey Time unfmTd 
Never his fairy wing o er fairer world ! 
Dim was its little disk, and angel eyes 
Alone could see the phantom in the skies, 
When first Al Aaraaf knew her course to be 
Headlong thitherward o er the starry sea 
But when its glory swell d upon the sky, 
As glowing Beauty s bust beneath man s eyo, 
We paus d before the heritage of men, 
And thy star trembled as doth Beauty then !" 

Thus, in discourse, the lovers whiled away 
The night that waned and waned and brought no day. 
They fell : for Heaven to them no hope imparts 
Who hear not for the beating of their hearts. 



TO THE RIVER , 

] AIR river ! in thy bright, clear flow 

Of crystal, wandering water, 
Thou art an emblem of the glow 

Of beauty the unhidden heart- 
The playful maziness of art 
In old Alberto s daughter ; 

But when within thy wave she looks 

Which glistens then, and trembles 
Why, then, the prettiest of brooks 

Her worshipper resembles ; 
For in his heart, as in thy stream, 

Her image deeply lies 
His heart which trembles at the beam 

Of her soul-searching eyes, 



TAMERLANE. 



TAMERLANE. 

|IND solace in a dying hour ! 

Such, father, is not (now) my theme 
"I will not madly deem that power 

Of Earth may shrive me of the sin 
Unearthly pride hath revell d in 
I have no time to dote or dream ; 
You call it hope that fire of fire ! 
It is but agony of desire : 
If I can hope oh God ! I can- 
Its fount is holier more divine-^ 
I would not call thee fool, old man, 
But such is not a gift of thine. 

Know thou the secret of a spirit 

Bow d from its wild pride into shame/, 
yearning heart ! I did inherit 

Thy withering portion with the fame, 
The searing glory which hath shone 
Amid the jewels of my throne, 
Halo of Hell ! and with a pain 
Not Hell shall make me fear again 
craving heart, for the lost flowers 
And sunshine of my summer hours ! 
The undying voice of that dead time, 
With its interminable chime, 
Pangs, in the spirit of a spell, 
Upon thy emptiness a knell. 

.1 have not always been as now : 
The fever d diadem on my brow 

I claim d and won usurpingly 

Hath not the same fierce heirdom given 
Rome to the Caesar this to me 1 
The heritage of a kingly mind, 
And a proud spirit which hath striven 
Triumphantly with human kind. 



WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

On mountain soil I first drew life : 
The mists of the Taglay have shed 
Nightly their dews upon my head, 

And, I believe, the winged strife 

And tumult of the headlong air 

Have nestled in my very hair. 

So late from Heaven that dew it fell 

( Mid dreams of an unholy night) 
Upon me with the touch of Hell, 

While the red flashing of the light 
From clouds that hung, like banners, o er, 

Appeared to my half-closing eye 

The pageantry of monarchy, 
And the deep trumpet-thunder s roar 

Came hurriedly upon me, telling 
Of human battle, where my voice, 

My own voice, silly child ! was swelling 

(0 ! how my spirit would rejoice, 
And leap within me at the cry) 
The battle-cry of Victory ! 

The rain came down upon my head 
Unshelter d and the heavy wind 
Rendered me mad and deaf and blind. 
It was but man, I thought, who shed 
Laurels upon me : and the rush 
The torrent of the chilly air 
Gurgled within my ear the crush 

Of empires with the captive s prayer 
The hum of suitors and the tone 
Of flattery round a sovereign s throne. 

My passions, from that hapless hour, 

Usurp d a tyranny which men 
Have deem d, since I have reach d to power, 

My innate nature be it so : 
But, father, there livM one who, then, 
Then in my boyhood when their fire 

Burn d with a still intenser glow 
(For passion must, with youth, expire) 



TAMERLANE. 

E en then who knew this iron hearfc 
In woman s weakness had a part. 

I have no words alas ! to tell 
The loveliness of loving well ! 
Nor would I now attempt to trace 
The more than beauty of a face 
Whose lineaments, upon my mind, 

Are shadows on th unstable wind : 

Thus I remember having dwelt 

Some page of early lore upon, 
With loitering eye, till I have felt 
The letters with their meaning melt 

To fantasies with none. 

0, she was worthy of all love ! 

Love as in infancy was mine 
Twas such as angel minds above 

Might envy; her young heart the shrine 
On which my every hope and thought 

Were incense then a goodly gift, 

For they were childish and upright- 
Pure as her young example taught : 

Why did I leave it, and, adrift, 
Trust to the fire within, for light 1 

We grew in age and love together- 
Roaming the forest and the wild ; 

My breast her shield in wintry weather 
And when the friendly sunshine smil d, 

And she would mark the opening skies, 

/ saw no Heaven but in Irer eyes. 

Young Love s first lesson is the heart : 

For mid that sunshine, and those smiles, 
When, from our little cares apart, 

And laughing at her girlish wiles, 
I d throw me on her throbbing breast, 

And pour my spirit out in tears 
There was no need to speak the rest 

"No need to quiet any fears 



WORKS OF EDGAR\ALLAN FOE. 

Of her who ask d no reason why, 
But turn d on me her quiet eye ! 

Yet more than worthy of the love 
My spirit struggled with, and strove, 
When, on the mountain peak, alone, 
Ambition lent it a new tone 
I had no being but in thee : 

The world, and all it did contain 
In the earth the air the sea 

Its joy its little lot of pain 
That was new pleasure the ideal, 

Dim, vanities of dreams by night 
And dimmer nothings which were real 

(Shadows and a more shadowy light !) 
Parted upon their misty wings, 
And so, confusedly, became 
Thine image and a name a name! 
Two separate yet most intimate things. 

I was ambitious have you known 

The passion, father ? You have not : 
A. cottager, I mark d a throne 
Of half the world as all my own, 

And murmur d at such lowly lot 
But, just like any other dream, 

Upon the vapour of the dew 
My own had past, did not the beam 

Of beauty which did while it thro* 
The minute the hour the day oppress 
My mind with double loveliness. 

We walk d together on the crown 

Of a high mountain which look d down 

Afar from its proud natural towers 

Of rock and forest, on the hills 
The dwindled hills ! begirt with boweri 

And shouting with a thousand rills. 

I spoke to her of power and pride, 
But mystically in such guise 



TAMERLANE. 95 

That she might deem it nought beside 

The moment s converse ; in her eyes 
I read, perhaps too carelessly, 

A mingled feeling with my own ; 
The flush on her bright cheek, to me 

Seem d to become a queenly throne 
Too well that I should let it be 

Light in the wilderness alone, 

I wrapp d myself in grandeur then 
And donn d a visionary crown 

Yet it was not that Fantasy 

Had thrown her mantle over me 
But that, among the rabble men, 

Lion ambition is chain d down 
And crouches to a keeper s hand 
Not so in deserts where the grand 
The wild the terrible conspire 
With their own breath to fan his fire. 

Look round thee now on Samarcand ! 

Is she not queen of Earth ? her pride 
Above all cities r \ in her hand 

Their destinies ? in all beside 
Of glory which the world hath known 
Stands she not nobly and alone 1 
Falling her veriest stepping-stone 
Shall form the pedestal of a throne 
And who her sovereign 1 Timour he 

Whom the astonished people saw 
Striding o er empires haughtily 

A diadem d outlaw ! 

0, human love ! thou spirit given, 
On Earth, of all we hope in Heaven ! 
Which fall st into the soul like rain 
Upon the Siroc-wither d plain, 
And, failing in thy power to bless, 
But leav st the heart a wilderness ! 



j>6 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

Idea ! which bindest life around 
With music of so strange a sound 
And beauty of so wild a birth 
Farewell ! for I have won the Earth. 

"When Hope, the eagle that tower d, could see 

No cliff beyond him in the sky, 
His pinions were bent droopingly 

And homeward turn d his soften d eye. 
Twas sunset ; when the sun will part 
There conies a sullenness of heart 
To him who still would look upon 
The gloiy of the summer sun. 
That soul will hate the ev ning mist 
So often lovely, and will list 
To the sound of the coming darkness (known 
To those whose spirits barken) as one 
Who, in a dream of night, would fly 
But cannot from a danger nigh. 

What tho the moon the white moon 
Shed all the splendour of her noon, 
Her smile is chilly and her beam, 
In that time of dreariness, will seem 
(So like you gather in your breath) 
A portrait taken after death. 
And boyhood is a summer sun 
Whose waning is the dreariest one 
For all we live to know is known 
And all we seek to keep hath flown 
Let life, then, as the day-flower, fall 
With the noon-day beauty which is all. 

1 reach d my home my home no more 
For all had flown who made it so. 

I pass d from out its mossy door, 
And, tho my tread was soft and low, 

A voice came from the threshold stone 

Of one whom I had earlier known 



TAMERLANE. 

0, 1 defy thee, Hell, to show 
On beds of fire that burn below, 
A humbler hearta deeper woe. 

Father, I firmly do believe 

I know for Death who comes for me 

From regions of the blest afar, 
Where there is nothing to deceive, 
Hath left his iron gate ajar, 

And rays of truth you cannot see 

Are flashing thro Eternity 

I do believe that Eblis hath 
A snare in every human path 
Else how, when in the holy grove, 
I wandered of the idol, Love, 
Who daily scents his snowy wings 
With incense of burnt offerings 
From the most unpolluted things, 
Whose pleasant bowers are yet so riven 
Above with trellis d rays from Heaven, 
No mote may shun no tiniest fly 
The lightning of his eagle eye 
How was it that Ambition crept, 

Unseen, amid the revels there, 
Till growing bold, he laughed and leapt 

In the tangles of Love s very hair ] 



TO . 

]HE bowers whereat, in dreams, I see 

The wantonest singing birds, 
Are lips and all thy melody 
Of lip-begotten words. 

Thine eyes, in Heaven of heart enshrined, 

Then desolately fall, 
O God ! on my funereal mind 

Like starlight on a pall. 



97 



g8 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

Thy heart thy heart ! I wake and sigh, 
And sleep to dream till day 

Of the truth that gold can never buy 
Of the baubles that it may. 



A DREAM. 

[N visions of the dark night 

I have dreamed of joy departed 
But a waking dream of life and light 
Hath left me broken-hearted. 



Ah ! what is not a dream by day 

To him whose eyes are cast 
On things around him with a ray 

Turned back upon the past ? 

That holy dream that holy dream, 
While all -the world were chiding, 

Hath cheered me as a lovely beam 
A lonely spirit guiding. 

What though that light, thro storm and night, 

So trembled from afar 
What could there be more purely bright 

In Truth s day-star] 



ROMANCE. 

OMANCE, who loves to nod and sing, 
With drowsy head and folded wing, 
Among the green leaves as they shake 
Far down within some shadowy lake, 
To me a painted paroquet 
Hath been a most familiar bird 
Taught me my alphabet to say 
To lisp my very earliest word 
While in the wild wood I did lie, 
A child with a most knowing eye. 



ROMANCE. 99 



Of late, eternal Condor years 
So shake the very Heaven on high 
With tumult as they thunder by, 
I have no time for idle cares 
Through gazing on the unquiet sky. 
And when an hoar with calmer wings 
Its down upon my spirit flings 
That little time with lyre and rhyme 
To while away forbidden things ! 
My heart would feel to be a crime 
Unless it trembled with the strings. 



FAIRY-LAND. 

]IM vales and shadowy floods 
And cloudy-looking woods, 
"Whose forms we can t discover 

For the tears that drip all over : 

Huge moons there wax and wane 

Again again again 

Every moment of the night 

Forever changing places 

And they put out the star-light 

With the breath from their pale faces. 

About twelve by the moon- dial 

One more filmy than the rest 

(A kind which, upon trial, 

They have found to be the best) 

Comes down still down and down 

With its centre on the crown 

Of a mountain s eminence, 

While its wide circumference 

In easy drapery falls 

Over hamlets, over halls, 

Wherever they may be 

O er the strange woods o er the sea 

Over spirits on the wing 

Over every drowsy thing 

And buries them up quite 

In a labyrinth of light 

7 2 



zoo WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

And then. Low deep ! oh, deep 
Is the passion of their sleep. 
In the morning they arise, 
And their moony covering 
Is soaring in the skies, 
With the tempests as they toss, 

Like almost anything 

Or a yellow Albatross. 
They use that moon no more 
For the same end as before 
Videlicet a tent 
Which I think extravagant : 
Its atomies, however, 
Into a shower dissever, 
Of which those butterflies, 
Of Earth, who seek the skies, 
And so come down again 
(Never-contented things !) 
Have brought a specimen 
Upon their quivering wings. 



THE LAKE TO . 

]N spring of youth it was my lot 
To haunt of the wide world a spot 
The which I could not love the less- 
So lovely was the loneliness 
Of a wild lake, with black rock bound, 
And the tall pines that towered around 

But when the Night had thrown her pall 
Upon that spot, as upon all, 
And the mystic wind went by 
Murmuring in melody 
Then ah, then I would awake 
To the terror of the lone lake. 

Yet that terror was not fright, 
But a tremulous delight 



THE LAKE TO . idt 

A feeling not the jewelled mine 
Could teach or bribe me to define 
Nor Love although the Love were thine. 

Death was in that poisonous wave, 

And its gulf a fitting grave 

For him who thence could solace bring 

To his lone imagining 

Whose solitary soul could make 

An Eden of that dim lake. 



SONG. 

SAW thee on the bridal day, 

When a burning blush came o er thee, 
Though happiness around thee lay, 
The world all love before thee : 

And in thine eye a kindling light 

(Whatever it might be) 
Was all on Earth my aching sight 

Of Loveliness could see. 

That blush, perhaps, was maiden shame- 
As such it well may pass 

Though its glow hath raised a fiercer flame 
In the breast of him, alas I 

Who saw thee on that bridal day, 

When that deep blush would come o er thee, 
Though happiness around thee lay, 

The world all love before thee. 



TO M. L. S. . 

OF all who hail thy presence as the morning 
Of all to whom thine absence is the night 
The blotting utterly from out high heaven 
The sacred sun of all who, weeping, bless thee 



102 WORK S OF EDGAR ALL Aft POE. 

Sourly for hope for life ah ! above all, 

For the resurrection of deep-buried faith 

In Truth in Virtue in Humanity 

Of all who, on Despair s unhallowed bed 

Lying down to die, have suddenly arisen 

At thy soft-murmured words, " Let there be light 1" 

At the soft-murmured words that were fulfilled 

In the seraphic glancing of thine eyes 

Of all who owe thee most whose gratitude 

Nearest resembles worship oh, remember 

The truest the most fervently devoted, 

And think that these weak lines are written by him- 

By him who, as he pens them, thrills to think 

His spirit is communing with an angel s. 



TALES 



OF 



MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION. 



THE GOLD BUG, 



What ho ! what ho ! this fellow is dancing mad ! 
He hath been bitten by the Tarantula. 

AH in the Wrong. 

ANY years ago I contracted an intimacy with, a Mr. William 
Legrand. He was of an ancient Huguenot family, arid had 
once been wealthy ; but a series of misfortunes had reduced 
him to want. To avoid the mortification consequent upon his dis 
asters, he left New Orleans, the city of his forefathers, and took up 
his residence at Sullivan s Island, near Charleston, South Carolina. 
This island is a very singular one. It consists of little else than 
the sea sand, and is about three miles long. Its breadth at no 
point exceeds a quarter of a mile. It is separated from the main 
land by a scarcely perceptible creek, oozing its way through a 
wilderness of reeds and slime, a favourite resort of the marsh-hen. 
The vegetation, as might be supposed, is scant, or at least dwarfish. 
No trees of any magnitude are to be seen. Near the western 
extremity, where Fort Moultrie stands, and where are some miser 
able frame buildings, tenanted, during summer, by the fugitives 
from Charleston dust and fever, may be found, indeed, the bristly 
palmetto ; but the whole island, with the exception of this western 
point, and a line of hard, white beach on the sea-coast, is covered 
with a dense undergrowth of the sweet myrtle, so much prized by 
the horticulturists of England. The shrub here often attains the 
height of fifteen or twenty feet, and forms an almost impenetrable 
coppice, burdening the air with its fragrance. 

In the inmost recesses of this coppice, not far from the eastern 
or more remote end of the island, Legrand had built himself a small 
hut, which he occupied when I first, by mere accident, made his 
acquaintance. This soon ripened into friendship for there was 
much in the recluse to excite interest and esteem. I found him 



io6 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

well educated, with unusual powers of mind, but infected with 
misanthropy, and subject to perverse moods of alternate enthu 
siasm and melancholy. He had with him many books, but rarely 
employed them. His chief amusements were gunning and fishing, 
or sauntering along the beach and through the myrtles, in quest of 
shells or entomological specimens; his collection of the latter 
might have been envied by a Swammerdamm. In these excursions 
he was usually accompanied by an old negro, called Jupiter, who 
had been manumitted before the reverses of the family, but who 
could be induced, neither by threats nor by promises, to abandon 
what he considered his right of attendance upon the footsteps of 
his young "Massa Will." It is not improbable that the relatives 
of Legrand, conceiving him to be somewhat unsettled in intellect, 
had contrived to instil this obstinacy into Jupiter, with a view to 
the supervision and guardianship of the wanderer. 

The winters in the latitude of Sullivan s Island are seldom very 
severe, and in the fall of the year it is a rare event indeed when a 
fire is considered necessary. About the middle of October, 18 , 
there occurred, however, a day of remarkable chilliness. Just 
before sunset I scrambled my way through the evergreens to the 
hut of my friend, whom I had not visited for several weeks my 
residence being, at that time, in Charleston, a distance of nine 
miles from the Island, while the facilities of passage and re-passage 
were very far behind those of the present day. Upon reaching the 
hut I rapped, as was my custom, and getting no reply, sought for 
the key where I knew it was secreted, unlocked the door and went 
in. A fine fire was blazing upon the hearth. It was a novelty, and 
by no means an ungrateful one. I threw off an overcoat, took an 
arm-chair by the crackling logs, and awaited patiently the arrival 
of my hosts. 

Soon after dark they arrived, and gave me a most cordial wel 
come. Jupiter, grinning from ear to ear, bustled about to prepare 
some marsh-hens for supper. Legrand was in one of his fits how 
else shall I term them ? of enthusiasm. He had found an unknown 
bivalve, forming a new genus, and, more than this, he had hunted 
down and secured, with Jupiter s assistance, a scarcibceus which he 
believed to be totally new, but in respect to which he wished to 
have my opinion on the morrow. 

" And why not to-night V I asked, rubbing my hands over the 
blaze, and wishing the whole tribe of scarabcei at the devil. 



THE GOLD BUG. id? 

" Ah, if I had only known you were here !" said Legrand, " but 
it s so long since I saw you ; and how could I foresee that you 
would pay me a visit this very night of all others 1 As I was 

coming home I met Lieutenant G , from the fort, and, very 

foolishly, I lent him the bug ; so it will be impossible for you to 
see it until the morning. Stay here to-night, and I will send Jup 
down for it at sunrise. It is the loveliest thing in creation !" 

"What 1 ? sunrise? 

"Nonsense! no! the bug. It is of a brilliant gold colour 
about the size of a large hickory-nut with two jet black spots 
near one extremity of the back, and another, somewhat longer, at 
the other. The antennae are " 

" Dey aint no tin in him, Massa Will, I keep a-tellin on you," here 
interrupted Jupiter ; " de bug is a goole bug, solid, ebery bit of 
him, inside and all, sep him wing neber feel half so hebby a bug 
in my life." 

"Well, suppose it is, Jup," replied Legrand, somewhat more 
earnestly, it seemed to me, than the case demanded, " is that any 
reason for your letting the birds burn 1 ? The colour" here he 
turned to me " is really almost enough to warrant Jupiter s idea. 
You never saw a more brilliant metallic lustre than the scales 
emit but of this you cannot judge till to-morrow. In the mean 
time I can give you some idea of the shape." Saying this, he 
seated himself at a small table, on which were a pen and ink, but 
no paper. He looked for some in a drawer, but found none. 

"Never mind," said he at length, "this will answer;" and he 
drew from his waistcoat pocket a scrap of what I took to be very 
dirty foolscap, and made upon it a rough drawing with the pen. 
While he did this, I retained my seat by the fire, for I was still 
chilly. When the design was complete, he handed it to me without 
rising. As I received it, a loud growl was heard, succeeded by a 
scratching at the door. Jupiter opened it, and a large Newfound 
land, belonging to Legrand, rushed in, leaped upon my shoulders, 
and loaded me with caresses ; for I had shown him much attention 
during previous visits. When his gambols were over, I looked at 
the paper, and, to speak the truth, found myself not a little puzzled 
at what my friend had depicted. 

" Well !" I said, after contemplating it for some minutes, " this is 
a, strange scarabcens, I must confess : new to me : never saw any 
thing like it before unless it was a skull, or a death s-head 



io8 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

which it more nearly resembles than anything else that has come 
tinder my observation." 

"A death s-head!" echoed Legrand. " Qh yes well, it has 
Something of that appearance upon paper, no doubt. The two 
upper black spots look like eyes, eh? and the longer one at the 
bottom like a mouth and then the shape of the whole is oval." 

" Perhaps so," said I ; " but, Legrand, I fear you are no artist. I 
must wait until I see the beetle itself, if I am to form any idea of 
its personal appearance." 

"Well, I don t know," said he, a little nettled, " I draw tolerably 
sJioidd do it at least have had good masters, and flatter myself 
that I am not quite a blockhead." 

"But, my dear fellow, you are joking then," said I, "this is a 
very passable skull indeed, I may say that it is a very excellent 
skull, according to the vulgar notions about such specimens of 
physiology and your scarabceus must be the queerest scarabceus 
in the world if it resembles it. Why, we may get up a very thrilling 
bit of superstition upon this hint. I presume you will call the bug 
scarabceus caput kominis, or something of that kind there are 
many similar titles in the Natural Histories. But where are the 
antennae, you spoke of T 

" The antennae / said Legrand, who seemed to be getting un 
accountably warm upon the subject ; "I am sure you must see the 
antennae. I made them as distinct as they are in the original insect, 
and I presume that is sufficient." 

" Well, well," I said, " perhaps you have still I don t see them ;" 
and I handed him the paper without additional remark, not wishing 
to ruffle his temper ; but I was much surprised at the turn affairs 
had taken ; his ill humour puzzled me arid, as for the drawing of 
the beetle, there were positively no antenna} visible, and the whole 
did bear a very close resemblance to the ordinary cuts of a death s- 
head. 

He received the paper very peevishly, and was about to crumple 
it, apparently to throw it in the fire, when a casual glance at the 
design seemed suddenly to rivet his attention. In an instant his 
face grew violently red in another as excessively pale. For some 
minutes he continued to scrutinize the drawing minutely where he 
sat. At length he arose, took a candle from the table, and pro 
ceeded to seat himself upon a sea-chest in the farthest corner of the 
room. Here again he made an anxious examination of the paper, 



THE GOLD BUG. 109 

turning it in all directions. He said nothing, however, and his 
conduct greatly astonished me ; yet I thought it prudent not to 
exacerbate the growing moodiness of his temper by any comment. 
Presently he took from his coat pocket a wallet, placed the paper 
carefully in it, and deposited both in a writing-desk, which lie 
locked. He now grew more composed in his demeanour ; but his 
original air of enthusiasm had quite disappeared. Yet he seemed 
not so much sulky as abstracted. As the evening wore away he 
became more and more absorbed in reverie, from which no sallies 
of mine could arouse him. It had been my intention to pass the 
night at the hut, as I had frequently done before, but, seeing my 
host in this mood, I deemed it proper to take leave. He did not 
press me to remain, but, as I departed, he shook my hand with 
even more than his usual cordiality. 

It was about a month after this (and during the interval I had 
seen nothing of Legrand) when I received a visit, at Charleston, 
from his man, Jupiter. I had never seen the good old negro look 
so dispirited, and I feared that some serious disaster had befallen 
my friend. 

"Well, Jup," said I, "what is the matter now 1 ? how is your 
master ? 

" Why, to speak de troof, massa, him not so berry well as mought 
be." 

" Not well ! I am truly sorry to hear it. What does he com 
plain ofr 

" Dar ! dat s it ! him neber plain of notin but him bery sick 
for all dat." 

" Very sick, Jupiter! why didn t you say .so at once] Is he 
confined to bed 

"No, dat he aint ! he aint find nowhar dat s just whar de shoe 
pinch. My mind is got to be berry hebby bout poor Massa Will." 

"Jupiter, I should like to understand what it is you are talking 
about. You say your master is sick. Hasn t he told you what ails 
hirnT 

" Why, massa, taint worf while for to git mad about de matter 
Massa Will say noffin at all aint de matter wid him but den what 
make him go about looking dis here way, wid he head clown and he 
soldiers up, and as white as a gose ? And den he keep a syphon 
all de time" 

" Keeps a, what, Jupiter V\ 



1 10 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

" Keeps a syphon wid de figgurs on de slate de queerest figgurs 
I ebber did see. Ise gittin to be skeered, I tell you. Hab for to 
keep mighty tight eye pon him noovers. Todder day he gib me 
slip fore de sun up and was gone de whole ob de blessed day. I 
had a big stick ready cut for to gib him deuced good beating when 
he did come but Ise sich a fool dat I hadn t de heart arter all 
lie look so berry poorly." 

" Eh 1 what 1 ah yes ! upon the whole I think you had better 
not be too severe with the poor fellow don t flog him, Jupiter- 
he can t very well stand it but can you form no idea of what has 
occasioned this illness, or rather this change of conduct? Has 
anything unpleasant happened since I saw you ?" 

" No, massa, dey aint bin noffin onpleasant since den twas fore 
den I m feared twas de berry day you was dare." 

" How? what do you mean?" 

" Why, massa, I mean de bug dare now." 

"The what?" 

" De bug I m berry sartain dat Massa Will bin bit somewhere 
bout de head by dat goole-bug." 

" And what cause have you, Jupiter, for such a supposition ?" 

" Claws enuff, massa, and mouff too. I nebber did see sich a 
deuced bug he kick and he bite ebery ting what cum near him. 
Massa Will cotch him fuss, but had for to let him go gin mighty 
quick, I tell you den was de time he must ha got de bite. I 
did n t like de look ob de bug mouff, myself, no how, so 1 would n t 
take hold ob him wid my finger, but I cotch him wid a piece ob 
paper dat I found. I rap him up in de paper and stuff piece ob it 
in he mouff dat was de way." 

" And you think, then, that your master was really bitten by the 
beetle, and that the bite made him sick ?" 

" I do n t tink noffin about.it I nose it. What make him dream 
bout de goole so much, if taint cause he bit by de goole-bug ? Ise 
heerd bout dem goole- bugs fore dis." 

" But how do you know he dreams about gold ?" 

"How I know? why cause he talk about it in he sleep dat s 
how I nose." 

" Well, Jup, perhaps you are right ; but to what fortunate cir 
cumstance am I to attribute the honour of a visit from you to-day ?" 

" What de matter, massa ?" 

" Did you bring any message from Mr. Legrand ?" 



THE GOLD BUG. Hi 

" No, massa, I bring dis here pissel ;" and here Jupiter handed 
me a note which ran thus : 

"My DEAR 

" Why have I not seen you for so long a time 1 I hope you have 
not been so foolish as to take offence at any little brusquerie of 
mine ; but no, that is improbable. 

" Since I saw you I have had great cause for anxiety. I have 
something to tell you, yet scarcely know how to tell it, or whether 
I should tell it at all. 

" I have not been quite well for some days past, and poor old 
Jup annoys me, almost beyond endurance, by his well-meant 
attentions. Would you believe it ? he had prepared a huge stick, 
the other day, with which to chastise me for giving him the slip, 
and spending the day, solus, among the hills on the mainland. I 
verily believe that my ill looks alone saved me a flogging. 

" I have made no addition to my cabinet since we met. 

" If you can, in any way, make it convenient, come over with 
Jupiter. Do come. I wish to see you to-night, upon business of 
importance. I assure you that it is of the highest importance. 
"Ever yours, "WILLIAM LEGRAND. 

There was something in the tone of this note which gave me 
great uneasiness. Its whole style differed materially from that 
of Legrand. What could he be dreaming of ] What new crotchet 
possessed his excitable brain 1 ? What "business of the highest 
importance" could he possibly have to transact ? Jupiter s account 
of him boded no good. I dreaded lest the continued pressure of 
misfortune had, at length, fairly unsettled the reason of my friend. 
Without a moment s hesitation, therefore, I prepared to accompany 
the negro. 

Upon reaching the wharf, I noticed a scythe and three spades, 
all apparently new, lying in the bottom of the boat in which we 
were to embark. 

" What is the meaning of all this, Jup 1" I inquired. 

" Him syfe, massa, and spade." 

"Very true ; but what are they doing here 1 ?" 

" Him de syfe and de spade what Massa Will sis pon my buy 
ing for him in de town, and de debbiFs own lot of money I had to 
gib for em." 



112 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

"But what, in the name of all that is mysterious, is your 
Massa Will, going to do with scythes and spades V 

" Dat s more dan / know, and debbil take me if I don t blieve 
; tis more dan he know, too. But it s all cum ob de bug." 

Finding that no satisfaction was to bo obtained of Jupiter, 
whose whole intellect seemed to be absorbed by " de bug," I now 
stepped into the boat and made sail. With a fair and strong 
breeze we soon ran into the little cove to the northward of Fort 
Moultrie, and a walk of some two miles brought us to the hut. 
It was about three in the afternoon when we arrived. Legrand 
had been awaiting us in eager expectation. He grasped my hand 
with a nervous empressement which alarmed me and strengthened 
the suspicions already entertained. His countenance was pale 
even to ghastliness, and his deep-set eyes glared with unnatural 
lustre. After some inquiries respecting his health, I asked him, 
not knowing what better to say, if he had yet obtained the scara- 
boeus from Lieutenant G . 

" Oh, yes," he replied, colouring violently, " I got it from him 
the next morning. Nothing should tempt me to part with that 
scarabceus. Do you know that Jupiter is quite right about it V 

" In what way V I asked, with a sad foreboding at heart. 

"In supposing it to be a bug of real gold!" He said this with 
an air of profound seriousness, and I felt inexpressibly shocked. 

" This bug is to make my fortune," he continued, with a tri 
umphant smile, " to reinstate me in my family possessions. Is it 
any wonder, then, that I prize it ] Since Fortune has thought fit 
to bestow it upon me, I have only to use it properly and I shall 
arrive at the gold of which it is the index. Jupiter, bring me 
that scarabceus/" 

"What! de bug, massa? I d rudder not go fer trubble dat 
bug you mus git him for your own self." Hereupon Legrand 
arose, with a grave and stately air, and brought me the beetle 
from a glass case in which it was enclosed. It was a beautiful 
scarabceus, and, at that time, unknown to naturalists of course a 
great prize in a scientific point of view. There were two round 
black spots near one extremity of the back, and a long one near 
the other. The scales were exceedingly hard and glossy, with 
all the appearance of burnished gold. The weight of the insect 
was very remarkable, and, taking all things into consideration, I 
could hardly blame Jupiter for his opinion respecting it; but 



T&E GOLD BUG. il^ 

What to make of Legrand s concordance with that opinion, I could 
not, for the life of me, tell. 

" I sent for you," said he, in a grandiloquent tone, when I had 
completed my examination of the beetle, " I sent for you, that I 
might have your counsel and assistance in furthering the views 
of Fate and of the bug" 

"My dear Legrand," I cried, interrupting him, "you are cer 
tainly unwell, and had better use some little precautions. You 
shall go to bed, and I will remain with you a ew days, until you 
get over this. You are feverish and" 
" Feel my pulse," said he. 

I felt it, and, to say the truth, found not the slightest indication 
of fever. 

"But you may be ill and yet have no fever. Allow me this 
once to prescribe for you. In the first place, go to bed. In thb 
next" 

" You are mistaken," he interposed, " I am as well as I can 
expect to be under the excitement which I suffer. If you really 
wish me well, you will relieve this excitement? 

"And how is this to be done 1 ?" 

"Very easily. Jupiter and myself are going upon an expe 
dition into the hills, upon the mainland, and, in this expedition, 
we shall need the aid of some person in whom we can confide. 
You are the only one we can trust. Whether we succeed or fail, 
the excitement which you now perceive in me will be equally 
allayed." 

" I am anxious to oblige you in any way," I replied ; " but do 
you mean to say that this infernal beetle has any connection with 
your expedition into the hills 1" 

"It has." 

" Then, Legrand, I can become a party to no such absurd pro 
ceeding." 

"I am sorry very sorry for we shall have to try it by our 
selves." 

"Try it by yourselves! The man is surely mad! but stay! 
how long do you propose to be absent 1" 

"Probably all night. We shall start immediately, and ba 
back, at all events, by sunrise." 

"And will you promise me, upon your honour, that when thid 
freak of yours is over, and the bug business (good God !) settled 

6 



i 14 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

to your satisfaction, you will then return home and follow ray 
advice implicitly, as that of your physician V 

" Yes ; I promise ; and now let us be off, for we have no time 
to lose." 

With a heavy heart I accompanied my friend. We started 
about four o clock Legrand, Jupiter, the dog, and myself. Ju 
piter had with him the scythe and spades the whole of which 
he insisted upon carrying more through fear, it seemed to me, 
of trusting either of the implements within reach of his master, 
than from any excess of industry or complaisance. His demeanour 
was dogged in the extreme, and "dat deuced bug" were the sole 
words which escaped his lips during the journey. For my own 
part, I had charge of a couple of dark lanterns, while Legrand 
contented himself with the scarabceus, which he carried attached 
to the end of a bit of whip-cord ; twirling it to and fro, with the 
air of a conjuror, as he went. When I observed this last, plain 
evidence of my friend s aberration of mind, I could scarcely re 
frain from tears. I thought it best, however, to humour his fancy, 
at least for the present, or until I could adopt some more energetic 
measures with a chance of success. In the meantime I en 
deavoured, but all in vain, to sound him in regard to the object of 
the expedition. Having succeeded in inducing me to accompany 
him, he seemed unwilling to hold conversation upon any topic of 
minor importance, and to all my questions vouchsafed no other 
reply than " we shall see 1" 

We crossed the creek at the head of the island by means of a 
skiff, and, ascending the high grounds on the shore of the mainland, 
proceeded in a north-westerly direction, through a tract of country 
excessively wild and desolate, where no trace of a human footstep 
was to be seen. Legrand led the way with decision ; pausing only 
for an instant, here and there, to consult what appeared to be certain 
landmarks of his own contrivance upon a former occasion. 

In this manner we journeyed for about two hours, and the sun 
was just setting when we entered a region infinitely more dreary 
than any yet seen. It was a species of table land, near the summit 
of an almost inaccessible hill, densely wooded from base to pinnacle, 
and interspersed with huge crags that appeared to lie loosely 
upon the soil, and in many cases were prevented from pre 
cipitating themselves into the valleys below, merely by the support 
gf the trees against which they reclined. Deep ravines, in 



THE GOLD BUG. 115 

various directions, gave an air of still sterner solemnity to the 
scene. 

The natural platform to which we had clambered was thickly 
overgrown with brambles, through which we soon discovered that it 
would have been impossible to force our way but for the scythe ; 
and Jupiter, by direction of his master, proceeded to clear for us 
a path to the foot of an enormously tall tulip-tree, which stood, 
with some eight or ten oaks, upon the level, and far surpassed them 
all, and all other trees which I had then ever seen, in the beauty 
of its foliage and form, in the wide spread of its branches, and in 
the general majesty of its appearance. When we reached this 
tree, Legrand turned to Jupiter, and asked him if he thought he 
could climb it. The old man seemed a little staggered by the 
question, and for some moments made no reply. At length he 
approached the huge trunk, walked slowly around it, and examined 
it with minute attention. When he had completed his scrutiny, 
he merely said, 

" Yes, massa, Jup climb any tree he ebber see in he life." 

" Then up with you as soon as possible, for it will soon be too 
dark to see what we are about." 

" How far rnus go up, massa V inquired Jupiter. 

" Get up the main trunk first, and then I will tell you which 
way to go and here stop ! take this beetle with you." 

" De bug, Massa Will ! de goole bug !" cried the negro, draw 
ing back in dismay " what for mus tote de bug way up de tree 1 
d n if I do !" 

" If you are afraid, Jup, a great big negro like you, to take hold 
of a harmless little dead beetle, why you can carry it up by this 
string but, if you do not take it up with you in some way, I shall 
be under the necessity of breaking your head with this shovel." 

"What de matter now. massa V 1 said Jup, evidently shamed into 
compliance ; " always want for to raise fuss wid old nigger. Was 
only funnin any how. Me feered de bug! what I keer for de 
bug 1 ?" Here he took cautiously hold of the extreme end of the 
string, and, maintaining the insect as far from his person as cir 
cumstances would permit, prepared to ascend the tree. 

In youth, the tulip-tree, or Liriodendron Tulipiferum, the most 
magnificent of American foresters, has a trunk peculiarly smooth, 
and often rises to a great height without lateral branches ; but, in 
its riper age, the bark becomes knarled and uneven, while many 

8-2 



Ii6 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

short limbs make their appearance on the stem. Thus the difficulty 
of ascension, in the present case, lay more in semblance than in 
reality. Embracing the huge cylinder, as closely as possible, with 
his arms and knees, seizing with his hands some projections, and 
resting his naked toes upon others, Jupiter, after one or two narrow 
escapes from falling, at length wriggled himself into the first great 
fork, and seemed to consider the whole business as virtually 
accomplished. The risk of the achievement was, in fact, now 
over, although the climber was some sixty or seventy feet from 
the ground. 

" Which way mus go now, Massa Will T he asked. 

" Keep up the largest branch the one on this side," said Le- 
grand. The negro obeyed him promptly, and apparently with 
but little trouble ; ascending higher and higher, until no glimpse 
of his squat figure could be obtained through the dense foliage 
which enveloped it. Presently his voice was heard in a sort of halloo : 

" How much f udder is got for go ?" 

"How high up are you V asked Legrand. 

" Ebber so fur," replied the negro ; " can see de sky fru de top 
ob de tree." 

" Never mind the sky, but attend to what I say. Look down 
the trunk and count the limbs below you on this side. How 
many limbs have you passed 1" 

" One, two, tree, four, fibe I done pass fibe big limb, massa, 
pon dis side." 

" Then go one limb higher." 

In a few minutes the voice was heard again, announcing that 
the seventh limb was attained. 

" Now, Jup," cried Legrand, evidently much excited, " I want 
you to work your way out upon that limb as far as you can. If 
you see anything strange, let me know." 

By this time what little doubt I might have entertained of my 
poor friend s insanity, was put finally at rest. I had no alternative 
but to conclude him stricken with lunacy, and I became seriously 
anxious about getting him home. While I was pondering upon 
what was best to be done, Jupiter s voice was again heard. 

" Mos f eerd for to ventur pon dis limb berry far tis dead limb 
putty much all de way." 

K Did you say it was a dead limb, Jupiter V cried Legrand in a 
quavering voice. 



THE GOLD BUG. 117 

" Yes, massa, him dead as de door-nail done up for sartain 
done departed dis here life." 

" What in the name of heaven shall I do ?" asked Legrand, 
seemingly in the greatest distress. 

" Do !" said I, glad of an opportunity to interpose a word, 
" why come home and go to bed. Come now ! that s a fine fellow. 
It s getting late, and, besides, you remember your promise." 

" Jupiter," cried he, without heeding me in the least, " do you 
hear me ?" 

" Yes, Massa Will, hear you ebber so plain." 

"Try the wood well, then, with your knife, and see if you 
think it very rotten." 

"Him rotten, massa, sure miff," replied the negro in a few 
moments, " but not so berry rotten as mought be. Mought ventur 
out leetle way pon de limb by myself, dat s true." 

" By yourself ! what do you mean 1" 

"Why I mean de bug. ; Tis berry hebby bug. Spose I drop 
him down fuss, and den de limb won t break wid just de weight 
ob one nigger." 

" You infernal scoundrel !" cried Legrand, apparently much 
relieved, "what do you mean by telling me such nonsense as 
that? As sure as you drop that beetle I ll break your neck. 
Look here, Jupiter, do you hear me V 

" Yes, massa, needn t hollo at poor nigger dat style." 

" Well ! now listen ! if you will venture out on the limb as 
far as you think safe, and not let go the beetle, I ll make you a 
present of a silver dollar as soon as you get down." 

"I m gwine, Massa Will deed I is," replied the negro very 
promptly " mos out to the eend now." 

" Out to the end !" here fairly screamed Legrand, " do you 
say you are out to the end of that limb 1" 

u Soon be to de eend, massa, o-o-o-o-oh ! Lor-gol-a-marcy ! 
what is dis here pon de tree V 

" Well !" cried Legrand, highly delighted, " what is it V 

" Why taint nuffin but a skull somebody bin lef him head 
up de tree, and de crows done gobble ebery bit ob de meat 
off." 

"A skull, you say! very well! how is it fastened to the 
limb ? what holds it on T 

"Sure nuff, massa; nuis look, Why dis berry curous sar- 



n 8 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

cumstance, pon my word dare s a great big nail in de skull, what 
fastens ob it on to de tree." 

" Well now, Jupiter, do exactly as I tell youdo you hear ?" 

" Yes, massa." 

" Pay attention, then ! find the left eye of the skull." 

" Hum ! hoo ! dat s good ! why dare aint no eye lef at all." 

" Curse your stupidity ! do you know your right hand from 
your left 1" 

" Yes, I nose dat nose all bout dat tis my lef hand what I 
chops de wood wid." 

" To be sure ! you are left-handed ; and your left eye is on 
the same side as your left hand. Now, I suppose, you can find 
the left eye of the skull, or the place where the left eye has been. 
Have you found it 1" 

Here was a long pause. At length the negro asked, 

" Is de lef eye of de skull pon de same side as de lef hand of 
de skull, too ? cause de skull aint got not a bit ob a hand at all 
nebber mind! I got de lef eye now here delef eye! what mus 
do wid it V 

"Let the beetle drop through it, as far as the string will 
reach but be careful and not let go your hold of the string." 

" All dat done, Massa Will ; mighty easy ting for to put de bug 
fru de hole look out for him dare below !" 

During this colloquy no portion of Jupiter s person could be 
seen ; but the beetle, which he had suffered to descend, was now 
visible at the end of the string, and glistened like a globe of bur 
nished gold, in the last rays of the setting sun, some of which 
still faintly illumined the eminence upon which we stood. The 
scarabceus hung quite clear of any branches, and, if allowed to 
fall, would have fallen at our feet. Legrand immediately took 
the scythe, and cleared with it a circular space, three or four 
yards in diameter, just beneath the insect, and, having accom 
plished this, ordered Jupiter to let go the string and come down 
from the tree. 

Driving a peg, with great nicety, into the ground, at the precise 
spot where the beetle fell, my friend now produced from his pocket 
a tape-measure. Fastening one end of this at that point of the 
trunk of the tree which was nearest the peg, he unrolled it till it 
reached the peg, and thence farther unrolled it, in the direction 
already established by the two points of the tree and the peg, for 



THE GOLD BUG. 119 

the distance of fifty feet Jupiter clearing away the brambles 
with the scythe. At the spot thus attained a second peg was 
driven, and about this, as a centre, a rude circle, about four feet in 
diameter, described. Taking now a spade himself, and giving one 
to Jupiter and one to me, Legrand begged us to set about digging 
as quickly as possible. 

To speak the truth, I had no especial relish for such amusement 
at any time, and, at that particular moment, would most willingly 
have declined it ; for the night was coming on, and I felt much 
fatigued with the exercise already taken ; but I saw no mode of 
escape, and was fearful of disturbing my poor friend s equanimity 
by a refusal. Could I have depended, indeed, upon Jupiter s aid, 
1 would have had no hesitation in attempting to get the lunatic 
home by force ; but I was too well assured of the old negro s dis 
position, to hope that he would assist me, under any circumstances, 
in a personal contest with his master. I made no doubt that the 
latter had been infected with some of the innumerable Southern 
superstitions about money buried, and that his fantasy had re*- 
ceived confirmation by the finding of the scarabceus, or, perhaps, 
by Jupiter s obstinacy in maintaining it to be " a bug of real gold. * 
A mind disposed to lunacy would readily be led away by such sug 
gestions especially if chiming in with favourite preconceived 
ideas and then I called to mind the poor fellow s speech about 
the beetle s being " the index of his fortune." Upon the whole, 
I was sadly vexed and puzzled, but, at length, I concluded to 
make a virtue of necessity to dig with a good will, and thus tho 
sooner to convince the visionary, by ocular demonstration, of the 
fallacy of the opinions he entertained. 

The lanterns having been lit, we all fell to work with a zeal 
worthy a more rational cause ; and, as the glare fell upon our 
persons and implements, I could not help thinking how pictu 
resque a group we composed, and how strange and suspicious our 
labours must have appeared to any interloper who, by chance, 
might have stumbled upon our whereabouts. 

We dug very steadily for two hours. Little was said ; and our 
chief embarrassment lay in the yelpings of the dog, who took 
exceeding interest in our proceedings. He at length became so 
obstreperous that we grew fearful of his giving the alarm to some 
stragglers in the vicinity ; or, rather, this was the apprehension 
of Legrand ; for myself, I should have rejoiced at any interrup- 



120 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

tion which might have enabled me to get the wanderer home. 
The noise was, at length, very effectually silenced by Jupiter, 
who, getting out of the hole with a dogged air of deliberation, tied 
the brute s mouth up with one of his suspenders, and then re 
turned, with a grave chuckle, to his task. 

When the time mentioned had expired, we had reached a depth 
of five feet, and yet no signs of any treasure became manifest. 
A general pause ensued, and I began to hope that the farce was 
at an end. Legrand, however, although evidently much discon 
certed, wiped his brow thoughtfully and recommenced. We had 
excavated the entire circle of four feet diameter, and now we 
slightly enlarged the limit, and went to the farther depth of two 
feet. Still nothing appeared. The gold-seeker, whom I sincerely 
pitied, at length clambered from the pit, with the bitterest disap 
pointment imprinted upon every feature, and proceeded, slowly 
and reluctantly, to put on his coat, which he had thrown off at 
the beginning of his labour. In the meantime I made no remark. 
Jupiter, at a signal from his master, began to gather up his tools. 
This done, and the dog having been unmuzzled, we turned in pro 
found silence towards home. 

We had taken, perhaps, a dozen steps in this direction, when, 
with a loud oath, Legrand strode up to Jupiter, and seized him by 
the collar. The astonished negro opened his eyes and mouth to 
the fullest extent, let fall the spades, and fell upon his knees. 

" You scoundrel !" said Legrand, hissing out the syllables from 
between his clenched teeth " you infernal black villain ! speak, I 
tell you ! answer me this instant, without prevarication ! which 
which is your left eye T 

" Oh, my golly, Massa Will ! aint dis here my lef eye for sar- 
tain r roared the terrified Jupiter, placing his hand upon his right 
organ of vision, and holding it there with a desperate pertinacity, 
as if in immediate dread of his master s attempt at a gouge. 

" I thought so ! I knew it ! hurrah !" vociferated Legrand, 
letting the negro go, and executing a series of curvets and cara 
coles, much to the astonishment of his valet, who, arising from his 
knees, looked mutely from his master to myself, and then from 
myself to his master, 

" Come ! we must go back," said the latter ; " the game s not 
up yet ;" and he again led the way to the tulip-tree. 

" Jupiter," said he, when we reached its foot, " come here ! 



THE GOLD BUG. j 51 

was the skull nailed to the limb with the face outwards, or with 
the face to the limb V 1 

" De face was out, massa, so dat de crows could get at de eyes 
good, widout any trouble." 

" Well, then, was it this eye or that through which you dropped 
the beetle T here Legrand touched each of Jupiter s eyes. 

" Twas dis eye, massa de lef eye j is as you tell me," and here 
it was his right eye that the negro indicated. 

" That will do we must try it again." 

Here my friend, about whose madness I now saw, or fancied 
that I saw, certain indications of method, removed the peg which 
marked the spot where the beetle fell, to a spot about three inches 
to the westward of its former position. Taking, now, the tape- 
measure from the nearest point of the trunk to the peg, as before, 
and continuing the extension in a straight line to the distance of 
fifty feet, a spot was indicated, removed, by several yards, from 
the point at which we had been digging. 

Around the new position a circle, somewhat larger than in the 
former instance, was now described, and we again set to work 
with the spades. I was dreadfully weary, but, scarcely under 
standing what had occasioned the change in my thoughts, I felt 
no longer any great aversion from the labour imposed. I had be 
come most unaccountably interested nay, even excited. Perhaps 
there was something, amid all the extravagant demeanour of 
Legrand some air of forethought, or of deliberation, which im 
pressed me. I dug eagerly, and now and then caught myself 
actually looking, with something that very much resembled ex 
pectation, for the fancied treasure, the vision of which had de 
mented my unfortunate companion. At a period when such 
vagaries of thought most fully possessed me, and when we had 
been at work perhaps an hour and a half, wo were again inter 
rupted by the violent bowlings of the dog. His uneasiness in the 
first instance, had been, evidently, but the result of playfulness 
or caprice, but he now assumed a bitter and serious tone. Upon 
Jupiter s again attempting to muzzle him, he made furious re 
sistance, and, leaping into the hole, tore up the mould frantically 
with his claws. In a few seconds he had uncovered a mass of 
human bones, forming two complete skeletons, intermingled with 
several buttons of metal, and what appeared to be the dust of 
decayed woollen, One or two strokes of a spade upturned the 



122 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE, 

blade of a large Spanish knife, and, as we dug farther, three or four 
loose pieces of gold and silver coin came to light. 

At sight of these the joy of Jupiter could scarcely be restrained, 
but the countenance of his master wore an air of extreme disap 
pointment. He urged us, however, to continue our exertions, and 
the words were hardly uttered when I stumbled and fell forward, 
having caught the toe of my boot in a large ring of iron that lay 
half buried in the loose earth. 

We now worked in earnest, and never did I pass ten minutes 
of more intense excitement. During this interval we had fairly 
unearthed an oblong chest of wood, which, from its perfect preser 
vation and wonderful hardness, had plainly been subjected to some 
mineralizing process perhaps that of the Bi-chloride of Mercury 
This box was three feet and a half long, three feet broad, and two 
and a half feet deep. It was firmly secured by bands of wrought 
iron, riveted, and forming a kind of open trelliswork over the 
whole. On each side of the chest, near the top, were three rings 
of iron six in all by means of which a firm hold could be 
obtained by six persons. Our utmost united endeavours served 
only to disturb the coffer very slightly in its bed. We at once 
saw the impossibility of removing so great a weight. Luckily, 
the sole fastenings of the lid consisted of two sliding bolts. These 
we drew back trembling and panting with anxiety. In an 
instant, a treasure of incalculable value lay gleaming before us. 
As the rays of the lanterns fell within the pit, there flashed up 
wards a glow and a glare, from a confused heap of gold and of 
jewels, that absolutely dazzled our eyes. 

I shall not pretend to describe the feelings with which I gazed. 
Amazement was, of course, predominant. Legrand appeared ex 
hausted with excitement, and spoke very few words. Jupiter s 
countenance wore, for some minutes, as deadly a pallor as it is 
possible, in the nature of things, for any negro s visage to assume. 
He seemed stupified thunderstricken. Presently he fell upon his 
knees in the pit, and, burying his naked arms up to the elbows in 
gold, let them there remain, as if enjoying the luxury of a bath. 
At length, with a deep sigh, he exclaimed, as if in a soliloquy, 

" And dis all come ob de goole-bug ! de putty goole-bug ! cle 
poor little goole-bug, what I boosed in dat sabage kind ob style ! 
Aint you shamed ob yourself, nigger 1 answer me dat !" 
It became necessary, at last, that I should arouse both master 



THE GOLD BUG. 123 

and valet to the expediency of removing the treasure, ic was 
growing late, and it behoved us to make exertion, that we might 
get everything housed before daylight. It was difficult to say 
what should be done, and much time was spent in deliberation 
so confused were the ideas of all. We, finally, lightened the box 
by removing two thirds of its contents, when we were enabled, 
with some trouble, to raise it from the hole. The articles taken 
out were deposited among the brambles, and the dog left to guard 
them, with strict orders from Jupiter, neither, upon any pretence, 
to stir from the spot, nor to open his mouth until our return. We 
then hurriedly made for home with the chest ; reaching the hut 
in safety, but after excessive toil, at one o clock in the morning. 
Worn out as we were, it was not in human nature to do more im 
mediately. We rested until two, and had supper ; starting for the 
hills immediately afterwards, armed with three stout sacks, which, 
by good luck, were upon the premises. A little before four we 
arrived at the pit, divided the remainder of the booty, as equally 
as might be, among us, and, leaving the holes unfilled, again set 
out for the hut, at which, for the second time, we deposited our 
golden burdens, just as the first faint streaks of the dawn gleamed 
from over the tree-tops in the East. 

We were now thoroughly broken down ; but the intense excite 
ment of the time denied us repose. After an unquiet slumber of 
some three or four hours duration, we arose, as if by preconcert, 
to make examination of our treasure. 

The chest had been full to the brim, and we spent the whole 
day, and the greater part of the next night, in a scrutiny of its 
contents. There had been nothing like order or arrangement. 
Everything had been heaped in promiscuously. Having assorted 
all with care, we found ourselves possessed of even vaster wealth 
than we had at first supposed. In coin there was rather more 
than four hundred and fifty thousand dollars estimating the 
value of the pieces, as accurately as we could, by the tables of 
the period. * There was not a particle of silver. All was gold 
of antique date and of great variety French, Spanish, and Ger 
man money, with a few English guineas, and some counters, of 
which we had never seen specimens before. There were several 
very large and heavy coins, so worn that we could make nothing 
of their inscriptions. There was no American money. The 
value of the jewels we found more difficulty in estimating. Thero 



124 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

were diamondssome of them exceedingly large and fine a 
hundred and ten in all, and not one of them small ; eighteen rubies 
of remarkable brilliancy ; three hundred and ten emeralds, all 
very beautiful ; and twenty-one sapphires, with an opal. These 
stones had all been broken from their settings and thrown loose in 
the chest. The settings themselves, which we picked out from 
among the other gold, appeared to have been beaten up with 
hammers, as if to prevent identification. Besides all this, there 
was a vast quantity of solid gold ornaments; nearly two hundred 
massive finger and ear rings ; rich chains thirty of these, if I 
remember ; eighty-three very large and heavy crucifixes ; five 
gold censers of great value ; a prodigious golden punch-bowl, 
ornamented with richly chased vine-leaves and Bacchanalian 
figures ] with two sword handles exquisitely embossed, and many 
other smaller articles which I cannot recollect. The weight of 
these valuables exceeded three hundred and fifty pounds avoirdu 
pois ; and in this estimate I have not included one hundred and 
ninety-seven superb gold watches ; three of the number being 
worth each five hundred dollars, if one. Many of them were very 
old, and as time keepers valueless ; the works having suffered, 
more or less, from corrosion but all were richly jewelled and in 
cases of great worth. We estimated the entire contents of the 
chest, that night, at a million and a half of dollars : and upon 
the subsequent disposal of the trinkets and jewels (a few being 
retained for our own use), it was found that we had greatly under 
valued the treasure. 

When, at length, we had concluded our examination, and the 
intense excitement of the time had, in some measure, subsided. 
Legrand, who saw that I was dying with impatience for a solution 
of this most extraordinary riddle, entered into a full detail of all 
the circumstances connected with it. 

"You remember," said he, "the night when I handed you the 
rough sketch I had made of the scarabceus. You recollect also, 
that I became quite vexed at you for insisting that my drawing 
resembled a death s-head. When you first made this assertion I 
thought you were jesting ; but afterwards I called to mind the 
peculiar spots on the back of the insect, and admitted to myself 
that your remark had some little foundation in fact. Still, the 
sneer at my graphic powers irritated me for I am considered a 
good artist and, therefore, when you handed me the scrap of 



THE GOLD BUG. 125 

parchment, I was about to crumple it up and throw it angrily 
into the fire." 

" The scrap of paper, you mean," said I. 

" No ; it had much of the appearance of paper, and at first 1 
supposed it to be such, but when I came to draw upon it, I dis 
covered it, at once, to be a piece of very thin parchment. It was 
quite dirty, you remember. Well, as I was in the very act of 
crumpling it up, my glance fell upon the sketch at which you had 
been looking, and you may imagine my astonishment when I 
perceived in fact, the figure of a death s-head just where, it seemed 
to me, I had made the drawing of the beetle. For a moment I 
was too much amazed to think with accuracy. I knew that my 
design was very different in detail from this although there was 
a certain similarity in general outline. Presently I took a candle, 
and seating myself at the other end of the room, proceeded to 
scrutinize the parchment more closely. Upon turning it over, I 
saw my own sketch upon the reverse, just as I had made it. My 
first idea, now, was mere surprise at the really remarkable 
similarity of outline at the singular coincidence involved in the 
fact, that unknown to me, there should have been a skull upon 
the other side of the parchment, immediately beneath my figure 
of the scarabaus, and that this skull, not only in outline, but in 
size, should so closely resemble my drawing. I say the singularity 
of this coincidence absolutely stupified me for a time. This is the 
usual effect of such coincidences. The mind struggles to establish 
a connection a sequence of cause and effect and, being unable 
to do so, suffers a species of temporary paralysis. But, when I 
recovered from this stupor, there dawned upon me gradually a 
conviction which startled me even far more than the coincidence. 
I began distinctly, positively, to remember that there had been no 
drawing upon .the parchment when I made my sketch of the 
scarabccus. I became perfectly certain of this ; for I recollected 
turning up first one side and then the other, in search of the 
cleanest spot. Had the skull been then there, of course I could 
not have failed to notice it. Here was indeed a mystery which I 
felt it impossible to explain ; but even at that early moment, 
there seemed to glimmer, faintly, within the most remote and 
secret chambers of my intellect, a glow-worm-like conception of 
that truth which last night s adventure brought to so magnificent 
a demonstration. I arose at once, and putting the parchment 



i2& WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN P0. 

securely away, dismissed all farther reflection until I should be 
alone. 

" When you had gone, and when Jupiter was fast asleep, I 
betook myself to a more methodical investigation of the affair. In 
the first place I considered the manner in which the parchment 
had come into my possession. The spot where we discovered the 
scarabceus was on the coast of the mainland, about a mile east 
ward of the island, and but a short distance above high water 
mark. Upon my taking hold of it, it gave me a sharp bite, which 
caused me to let it drop. Jupiter, with his accustomed caution, 
before seizing the insect, which had flown towards him, looked 
about him for a leaf, or something of that nature, by which, to take 
hold of it. It was at this moment that his eyes, and mine also, 
fell upon the scrap of parchment, which I then supposed to be 
paper. It was lying half buried in the sand, a corner sticking up. 
Near the spot where we found it, I observed the remnants of the 
hull of what appeared to have been a ship s long-boat. The wreck 
seemed to have been there for a very great while ; for the resem 
blance to boat timbers could scarcely be traced. 

"Well, Jupiter picked up the parchment, wrapped the beetlo 
in it, and gave it to me. fSoon afterwards we turned to go home, 

and on the way met Lieutenant G . I showed him the insect, 

and he begged me to let him take it to the fort. Upon my con 
senting, he thrust it forthwith into his waistcoat pocket, without 
the parchment in which it had been wrapped, and which I had 
continued to hold in my hand during his inspection. Perhaps he 
dreaded my changing my mind, and thought it best to make sure 
of the prize at once you know how enthusiastic he is on all sub 
jects connected with Natural History. At the same time, with 
out being conscious of it, I must have deposited the parchment in 
my own pocket. 

" You remember that when I went to the table, for the purpose 
of making a sketch of the beetle, I found no paper where it was 
usually kept. I looked in the drawer, and found none there. I 
searched my pockets, hoping to find an old letter, when my hand 
fell upon the parchment. I thus detail the precise mode in which 
it came into my possession ; for the circumstances impressed me 
with peculiar force. 

" No doubt you will think me fanciful but I had already es 
tablished a kind of connection. I had put together two links of a 



THE GOLD BUG. itf 

great chain. There was a boat lying upon a sea- coast, and not 
far from the boat was a parchment not a paper with a skull 
depicted upon it. You will, of course, ask where is the connection V 
I reply, that the skull, or death s-head, is the well-known emblem 
of the pirate. The flag of the death s-head is hoisted in all 
engagements. 

" I have said that the scrap was parchment, and not paper. 
Parchment is durable almost imperishable. Matters of little 
moment are rarely consigned to parchment ; since, for the mere 
ordinary purposes of drawing or writing, it is not nearly so well 
adapted as paper. This reflection suggested some meaning 
some relevancy in the death s-head. I did not fail to observe, 
also, the/o?-m of the parchment. Although one of its corners had 
been, by some accident, destroyed, it could be seen that the original 
form was oblong. It was just such a slip, indeed, as might have 
been chosen for a memorandum for a record of something to be 
long remembered and carefully preserved." 

" But," I interposed, " you say that the skull was not upon the 
parchment when you made the drawing of the beetle. How then 
do you trace any connection between the boat and the skull 
since this latter, according to your own admission, must have 
been designed (God only knows how or by whom) at some period 
subsequent to your sketching the scarabceus ?" 

" Ah, hereupon turns the whole mystery ; although the secret, 
at this point, I had comparatively little difficulty in solving. My 
steps were sure, and could afford but a single result. 1 reasoned, 
for example, thus : When I drew the scarabceus, there was no 
skull apparent upon the parchment. When I had completed the 
drawing I gave it to you, and observed you narrowly until you 
returned it. You, therefore, did not design the skull, and no one 
else was present to do it. Then it was not done by human agency. 
And nevertheless it was done. 

" At this stage of my reflections I endeavoured to remember, 
and did remember, with entire distinctness, every incident which 
occurred about the period in question. The weather was chilly 
(oh, rare and happy accident !), and a fire was blazing upon the 
hearth. I was heated with exercise and sat near the table. You, 
however, had drawn a chair close to the chimney. Just as I placed 
the parchment in your hand, and as you were in the act of in 
specting it, Wolf, the Newfoundland, entered, and leaped upon your 



128 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

shoulders. With your left hand you caressed him and kept hint 
off, while your right, holding the parchment, was permitted to fall 
listlessly between your knees, and in close proximity to the fire. At 
one moment I thought the blaze had caught it, and was about to 
caution you, but before I could speak you had withdrawn it, and 
were engaged in its examination. When I considered all these 
particulars, I doubted not for a moment that heat had been the agent 
in bringing to light, upon the parchment, the skull which I saw 
designed upon it. You are well aware that chemical preparations 
exist, and have existed time out of mind, by means of which it is 
possible to write upon either paper or vellum, so that the characters 
shall become visible only when subjected to the action of fire. 
Zaffre, digested in aqua regia, and diluted with four times its weight 
of water, is sometimes employed ; a green tint results. The regu- 
Itis of cobalt, dissolved in spirit of nitre, gives a red. These 
colours disappear at longer or shorter intervals after the material 
written upon cools, but again become apparent upon the re-ap 
plication of heat. 

" I now scrutinized the death s-head with care. Its outer edges 
the edges of the drawing nearest the edge of the vellum were 
far more distinct than the others. It was clear that the action of 
the caloric had been imperfect or unequal. I immediately kindled 
a fire, and subjected every portion of the parchment to a glowing 
heat. At first, the only effect was the strengthening of the faint 
lines in the skull \ but, upon persevering in the experiment, there 
became visible, at the corner of the slip, diagonally opposite to the 
spot in which the death s-head was delineated, the figure of what I 
at first supposed to be a goat. A closer scrutiny, however, satisfied 
me that it was intended for a kid." 

" Ha ! ha !" said I, " to be sure I have no right to laugh at you 
a million and a half of money is too serious a matter for mirth 
but you are not about to establish a third link in your chain 
you will not find any special connection between your pirates 
and a goat pirates, you know, have nothing to do with goats ; 
they appertain to the farming interest." 

" But I have just said that the figure was not that of a goat." 
" Well, a kid then pretty much the same thing." 
" Pretty much, but not altogether," said Legrand, " You may 
Jiave heard of one Captain Kidd. I at once looked upon the 
figure of the animal as a kind of punning or hieroglyphical sig- 



THE GOLD BUG. lie 

nature. I say signature; because its position upon the vellum 
suggested this idea. The death s-head at the corner diagonally 
opposite, had, in the same manner, the air of a stamp, or seal. 
But I was sorely put out by the absence of all else of the body 
to my imagined instrument of the text for my context." 

" I presume you expected to find a letter between the stamp 
and the signature." 

" Something of that kind. The fact is, T felt irresistibly im 
pressed with a presentiment of some vast good fortune impending. 
I can scarcely say why. Perhaps, after all, it was rather a desire 
than an actual belief ; but do you know that Jupiter s silly words, 
about the bug being of solid gold, had a remarkable effect upon my 
fancy ? And then the series of accidents and coincidences these 
were so very extraordinary. Do you observe how mere an accident 
it was that these events should have occurred upon the sole day of 
all the year in which it has been, or may be, sufficiently cool for 
fire, and that without the fire, or without the intervention of the 
dog at the precise moment in which he appeared, I should never 
have become aware of the death s-head, and so never the possessor 
of the treasure 1" 

" But proceed I am all impatience." 

" Well ; you have heard, of course, the many stories current 
the thousand vague rumours afloat, about money buried, some^ 
where upon the Atlantic coast, by Kidd and his associates. These 
rumours must have had some foundation in fact. And that the 
rumours have existed so long and so continuous, could have 
resulted, it appeared to me, only from the circumstance of the 
buried treasure still remaining entombed. Had Kidd concealed 
his plunder for a time, and afterwards reclaimed it, the rumours 
would scarcely have reached us in their present unvarying form. 
You will observe that the stories told are all about money-seekers, 
not about money-finders. Had the pirate recovered his money, 
there the affair would have dropped. It seemed to me that some 
accident say the loss of a memorandum indicating its locality- 
had deprived him of the means of recovering it, and that this 
accident had become known to his followers, who otherwise might 
never have heard that treasure had been concealed at all, and 
who, busying themselves in vain, because unguided attempts, to 
regain it, had given first birth, and then universal currency, 
to the reports which are now so common. Have you ever 

9 



ijo WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

heard of any important treasure being unearthed along the 
coast r 

"Never." 

" But that Kidd s accumulations were immense, is well known. 
I took it for granted, therefore, that the earth still held them ; and 
you will scarcely be surprised when I tell you that I felt a hope, 
nearly amounting to certainty, that the parchment so strangely 
found, involved a lost record of the place of deposit." 

" But how did you proceed 1" 

"I held the velhim again to the fire, after increasing the heat ; 
but nothing appeared. I now thought it possible that the coating 
of dirt might have something to do with the failure ; so I care 
fully rinsed the parchment by pouring warm water over it, and, 
having done this, I placed it in a tin pan, with the skull downwards, 
and put the pan upon a furnace of lighted charcoal. In a few 
minutes, the pan having become thoroughly heated, I removed 
the slip, and, to my inexpressible joy, found it spotted, in several 
places, with what appeared to be figures arranged in lines. Again 
I placed it in the pan, and suffered it to remain another minute. 
Upon taking it off, the whole was just as you see it now." 

Here Legrand, having re-heated the parchment, submitted it to 
my inspection. The following characters were rudely traced, in 
a red tint, between the death s-head and the goat : 

53!!:Jt305))6*;4826)4l:,)4l:);806*;48t8lT60))85;lt(;:t*8t83(88)5*t;46 
(;SS*96*?;8)*J(;485);5*t2:*t(;4956*2(5* 4)8T8*;4069285);)6t8)4t 



"But," said I, returning him the slip, "I am as much in the 
dark as ever. Were all the jewels of Golconda awaiting me 
upon my solution of^this enigma, I am quite sure that I should be 
unable to earn them." 

"And yet," said Legrand, "the solution is by no means so 
difficult as you might be led to imagine from the first hasty 
inspection of the characters. These characters, as any one might 
readily guess, form a cipher that is to say, they convey a mean 
ing ; but then, from what is known of Kidd, I could not suppose 
him capable of constructing any of the more abstruse crypto 
graphs. I made up my mind, at once, that this was of a simple 



THE GOLD BUG. 131 

Species such, however, as would appear, to the crude intellect 
of the sailor, absolutely insoluble without the key." 

" And you really solved it 1" 

" Readily ; I have solved others of an abstruseness ten thou 
sand times greater. Circumstances, and a certain bias of mind, 
have led me to take interest in such riddles, and it may well be 
doubted whether human ingenuity can constuct an enigma of the 
kind which human ingenuity may not, by proper application, 
resolve. In fact, having once established connected and legible 
characters, I scarcely gave a thought to the mere difficulty of 
developing their import. 

" In the present case indeed in all cases of secret writing 
the first question regards the language of the cipher; for the prin 
ciples of solution, so far, especially, as the more simple ciphers are 
concerned, depend upon, and are varied by, the genius of the 
particular idiom. In general there is no alternative but experi 
ment (directed by probabilities) of every tongue known to him 
who attempts the solution, until the true one be attained. "But, 
with the cipher now before us, all difficulty was removed by the 
signature. The pun upon the word * Kidd is appreciable in no 
other language than the English. But for this consideratien I 
should have begun my attempts with the Spanish and French, as 
the tongues in which a secret of this kind would most naturally 
have been written by a pirate of the Spanish main. As it was, I 
assumed the cryptograph to be English. 

" You observe there are no divisions between the words* Had 

there been divisions, the task would have been comparatively 

easy. In such case I should have commenced with a collation 

and analysis of the shorter words, and had a word of a single 

letter occurred, as is most likely, (a or / for example,) I should 

have considered the solution as assured. But, there being no 

division, my first step was to ascertain the predominant letters, as 

well as the least frequent. Counting all, I constructed a table, thus : 

" Of the character 8 there are 33. 

; 26. 

4 IS. 
t ) 16. 

* 13. 

5 12. 
11. 



t 3 2 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

" Of tie character t I there are 8. 

; . 6. 
9 2 5. 
: 3 4. 

1 3. 
IT 2. 

- 1- 

" Now, in English, the letter which most frequently occurs is e, 
Afterwards, the succession runs thus : a o id h n r s t u y cfg 
Imwljkpqxz. E predominates so remarkably that an indi 
vidual sentence of any length is rarely seen, in which it is not the 
prevailing character. 

" Here, then, we have, in the very beginning, the groundwork 
for something more than a mere guess. The general use which 
may be made of the table is obvious but, in this particular cipher 
we shall only very partially require its aid. As our predominant 
character is 8, we will commence by assuming it as the e of the 
natural alphabet. To verify the supposition, let us observe if the 
8 be seen often in couples for e is doubled with great frequency 
in English in such words, for example, as meet, fleet, speed, 
seen/ been, agree, &? In the present instance we see it 
doubled no less than five times, although the cryptograph is brief. 

" Let us assume 8, then, as e. Now, of all words in the language 
the is the most usual; let us see, therefore, whether there are 
not repetitions of any three characters, in the same order of col 
location, the last of them being 8. If we discover repetitions of 
such letters, so arranged, they will most probably represent the 
wor4 the. Upon inspection, we find no less than seven such 
arrangements, the characters being ;48. We may therefore, as 
sume that j represesents t, 4 represents A, and 8 represents e the 
last being now well confirmed. Thus a great step has been taken. 

"But, having established a single word, we are enabled to 
establish a vastly important point ; that is to say, several com 
mencements and terminations of other words. Let us refer, for 
example, to the last instance but one, in which the combination 
;48 occurs riot far from the end of the cipher. We know that 
the ; immediately ensuing is the commencement of a word, and, 
of the six characters succeeding this the, we are cognizant of no 
less than five. Let us set these characters down, thus, by the letters 
we know them to represent, leaving a space for the unknown 



THE GOLD BUG. 133 

t ccth. 

" Here we are enabled, at once, to discard the thf as forming 
no portion of the word commencing with the first t ; since, by ex 
periment of the entire alphabet for a letter adapted to the vacancy 
we perceive that no word can be formed of which this th can be 
a part. We are thus narrowed into 

tee, 

and, going through the alphabet, if necessary, as before, we 
arrive at the word * tree/ as the sole possible reading. We thus 
gain another letter, r, represented by (, with the words the tree 
in juxtaposition. 

" Looking beyond these words, for a short distance, we again 
see the combination ;48, and employ it by way of termination to 
what immediately precedes. We have thus this arrangement : 

the tree ;4(t<3i the, 

or, substituting the natural letters, where known, it reads thus : 
the tree thrjteh the. 

" Now if, in place of the unknown characters, we leave blank 
spaces, or substitute dots, we read thus : 

the tree thr...h the, 

when the word through makes itself evident at once. But this 
discovery gives us three new letters, o, u, and g, represented by 
J ? and 3. 

"Looking now, narrowly, through the cipher for combinations 
of known characters, we mid, not very far from the beginning, 
this arrangement, 

83(88, or egree, 

which, plainly, is the conclusion of the word degree/ and gives 
us another letter, d, represented by t- 

" Four letters beyond the word degree/ we perceive the com. 
bination 

;<48;88. 

" Translating the known characters, and representing the un 
known by dots, as before, we read thus : 

th rtee. 

an arrangement immediately suggestive of the word thirteen. 
and again funishing us with two new characters, i and n, repre 
sented by 6 and *. 

" Referring, now, to the beginning of the cryptograph, we fi;id 
the combination, 



134 - WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

11 Translating, as before, we obtain 
. good, 

which assures us that the first letter is A, and that the first two 
words are * A good. 

" It is now time that we arrange our key, as far as discovered, in 
a tabular form, to avoid confusion. It will stand thus : 

5 represents a 
f d 
8 e 

3 g 

4 h 

6 i 
n 

t o 
( r 

j 35 t 

" We have, therefore, no less than ten of the most important 
letters represented, and it will be unnecessary to proceed with the 
details of the solution. I have said enough to convince you that 
ciphers of this nature are readily soluble, and to give you some 
insight into the rationale of their development. But be assured 
that the specimen before us appertains to the very simplest species 
of cryptograph. It now only remains to give you the full transla 
tion of the characters upon the parchment, as unriddled. Here it is : 

" A good glass in the bishop s hostel in the devil s seat forty-one 
degrees and thirteen minutes north-east and by north main branch 
seventh limb east side shoot from the left eye of the deaths-head a 
bee line from the tree through the shot fifty feet out. >}) 

" But," said I, " the enigma seems still in as bad a condition as 
ever. How is it possible to extort a meaning from all this jargon 
about devil s seats, death s-heads, and bishop s hotels V " 

"I confess," replied Legrand, "that the matter still wears a 
serious aspect, when regarded with a casual glance. My first endea 
vour was to divide the sentence into the natural division intended 
by the cryptographist." 

" You mean to punctuate it 1" 

" Something of that kind." 

" But how was it possible to effect this T 

"I reflected that it had been & point with the writer to run his 
flrords together without division, so as to increase the difficulty of 



THE GOLD BUG. 135 

solution. Now, a not over-acute man, in pursuing such an object, 
would be nearly certain to overdo the matter. When, in the course 
of his composition, he arrived at a break in his subject which would 
naturally require a pause, or a point, he would be exceedingly apt 
to run his characters, at this place, more than usually close to 
gether. If you will observe the MS., in the present instance, you 
will easily detect five such cases of unusual crowding. Acting 
upon this hint, I made the division thus : 

" A good glass in the Bishop s hostel in the Devil s seat forty -one 
degrees and thirteen minutes northeast and by north main branch 
seventh limb east side shoot from the left eye of the deaths-head <% 
bee-line from the tree through the shot fifty feet out. 1 " 

" Even this division," said I, " leaves me still in the dark." 
" It left me also in the dark," replied Legrand, " for a few days ; 
during which I made diligent inquiry, in the neighbourhood of 
Sullivan s Island, for any building which went by the name of the 

* Bishop s Hotel ; for, of course, I dropped the obsolete word 

* hostel. Gaining no information on the subject, I was on the 
point of extending my sphere of search, and proceeding in a more 
systematic manner, when, one morning, it entered into my head, 
quite suddenly, that this * Bishop s Hostel might have some refer 
ence to an old family, of the name of Bessop, which, time out of 
mind, had held possession of an ancient manor-house, about four 
miles to the northward of the island. I accordingly went over to 
the plantation, and re-instituted my inquiries among the older 
negroes of the place. At length one of the most aged of the women 
said that she had heard of such a place as Bessop s Castle, and 
thought that she could guide me to it, but that it was not a castle, 
nor a tavern, but a high rock. 

" I offered to pay her w T ell for her trouble, and after some demur, 
she consented to accompany me to the spot. We found it without 
much difficulty, when, dismissing her, I proceeded to examine the 
place. The castle consisted of an irregular assemblage of cliffs and 
rocks one of the latter being quite remarkable for its height as well 
as for its insulated and artificial appearance. I clambered to its 
apex, and then felt much at a loss as to what should be next done. 

" While I was busied in reflection, my eyes fell upon a narrow 
ledge in the eastern face of the rock, perhaps a yard below the 
summit upon which I stood. This ledge projected about eighteen 
inches, and was not more than a foot wide, while a niche in the 



i 3 6 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

cliff just above it, gave it a rude resemblance to one of the hollow- 
backed chairs used by our ancestors. I made no doubt that here 
was the devil s-seat alluded to in the MS., and now I seemed to 
grasp the full secret of the riddle. 

" The good glass, I knew, could have reference to nothing but 
a telescope ; for the word glass is rarely employed in any other 
sense by seamen. Now here, I at once saw, was a telescope to be 
used, and a definite point of view, admitting no variation, from 
which to use it. Nor did I hesitate to believe that the phrases, 
forty-one degrees and thirteen minutes, and northeast and by 
north/ were intended as directions for the levelling of the glass. 
Greatly excited by these discoveries, I hurried home, procured a 
telescope, and returned to the rock. 

" I let myself down to the ledge, and found that it was impos 
sible to retain a seat upon it except in one particular position. 
This fact confirmed my preconceived idea. I proceeded to use the 
glass. Of course, the forty-one degrees and thirteen minutes 
could allude to nothing but elevation above the visible horizon, 
since the horizontal direction was clearly indicated by the words, 
* northeast and by north. This latter direction I at once established 
by means of a pocket-compass ; then, pointing the glass as nearly 
at an angle of forty-one degrees of elevation as I could do it by 
guess, I moved it cautiously up or down, until my attention was 
arrested by a circular rift or opening in the foliage of a large tree 
that overtopped its fellows in the distance. In the centre of this 
rift I perceived a white spot, but could not, at first, distinguish 
what it was. Adjusting the focus of the telescope, I again looked, 
and now made it out to be a human skull. 

" Upon this discovery I was so sanguine as to consider the 
enigma solved ; for the phrase main branch, seventh limb, east 
side, could refer only to the position of the skull upon the tree, 
while shoot from the left eye of the death s-head admitted, also, 
of but one interpretation, in regard to a search for buried treasure. 
I perceived that the design was to drop a bullet from the left eye 
of the skull, and that a bee-line, or, in other words, a straight line, 
drawn from the nearest point of the trunk through the shot (or 
the spot where the bullet fell), and thence extended to a distance 
of fifty feet, would indicate a definite point and beneath this point 
I thought it at least possible that a deposit of value lay concealed." 

"All this," I said, "is exceedingly clear, and, although ingenious. 



THE GOLD BUG. 137 

still simple and explicit. Wlien you left the Bishop s Hotel, what 
then?" 

" Why, having carefully taken the bearings of the tree, I turned 
homewards. The instant that I left the devil s seat, however, 
the circular rift vanished ; nor could I get a glimpse of it after 
wards, turn as I would. What seems to me the chief ingenuity in 
this whole business, is the fact (for repeated experiment has con 
vinced me it is a fact) that the circular opening in question is 
visible from no other attainable point of view than that afforded 
by the narrow ledge upon the face of the rock. 

" In this expedition to the Bishop s Hotel I had been attended 
by Jupiter, who had, no doubt, observed, for some weeks past, the 
abstraction of my demeanour, and took especial care not to leave 
me alone. But, on the next day, getting up very early, I contrived 
to give him the slip, and went into the hills in search of the tree. 
After much toil I found it. When I came home at night my valet 
proposed to give me a flogging. With the rest of the adventure I 
believe you are as well acquainted as myself." 

" I suppose," said I, " you missed the spot, in the first attempt at 
digging, through Jupiter s stupidity in letting the bug fall through 
the right instead of through the left eye of the skull." 

" Precisely. This mistake made a difference of about two inches 
and a half in the shot, that is to say, in the position of the peg 
nearest the tree ; and had the treasure been beneath the shot, the 
error would have been of little moment ; but * the shot, together 
with the nearest point of the tree, were merely two points for the 
establishment of a line of direction ; of course the error, however 
trivial in the beginning, increased as we proceeded with the line, 
and by the time we had gone fifty feet, threw us quite off the scent. 
But for my deep-seated impressions that treasure was here some 
where actually buried, we might have had all our labour in 
vain." 

" But your grandiloquence, and your conduct in swinging the 
beetle how excessively odd ! I was sure you were mad. And 
why did you insist upon letting fall the bug, instead of a bullet 
from the shell V 

" Why, to be frank, I felt somewhat annoyed by your evident 
suspicions touching my sanity, and so resolved to punish you 
quietly, in my own way, by a little bit of sober mystification. For 
this reason I swung the beetle, and for this reason I let it fall from 



138 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE, 

the tree. An observation of yours about its great weight suggested 
the latter idea." 

* Yes, I perceive; and now there is only one point which puzzles 
me. What are we to make of the skeletons found in the hole V 

" That is a question I am no more able to answer than yourself. 
There seems, however, only one plausible way of accounting for 
them and yet it is dreadful to believe in such atrocity as my 
suggestion would imply. It is clear that Kidd if Kidd indeed 
secreted this treasure, which I doubt not it is clear that he must 
have had assistance in the labour. But this labour concluded, he 
may have thought it expedient to remove all participants in his 
secret. Perhaps a couple of blows with a mattock were sufficient, 
while his coadjutors were busy in the pit ; perhaps it required a 
dozen who shall tell T 



THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF M, VALDEMAR, 

| F course I shall not pretend to consider it any matter for 
wonder that the extraordinary case of M. Valdemar has 
excited discussion. It would have been a miracle had it 
not especially under the circumstances. Through the desire of 
all parties concerned to keep the affair from the public, at least for 
the present, or until we had farther opportunities for investigation 
through our endeavours to effect this a garbled or exaggerated 
account made its way into society, and became the source of many 
unpleasant misrepresentations ; and, very naturally, of a great deal 
of disbelief. 

It is now rendered necessary that I give the facts as far as I 
comprehend them myself. They are, succinctly, these : 

My attention, for the last three years, had been repeatedly drawn 
to the subject of mesmerism ; and, about nine months ago, it 
occurred to me, quite suddenly, that in the series of experiments 
made hitherto, there had been a very remarkable and most unac 
countable omission : no person had as yet been mesmerised in 
articulo mortis. It remained to be seen, first, whether, in such 
condition, there existed in the* patient any susceptibility to the 
magnetic influence ; secondly, whether, if any existed, it was im 
paired or increased by the condition ; thirdly, to what extent, or 



THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF M. VALDEMAR. 139 

for liow long a period, the encroachments of Death might bo 
arrested by the process. There were other points to be ascertained 
but these most excited my curiosity the last in especial, from the 
immensely important character of its consequences. 

In looking around me for some subject by whose means I might 
test these particulars, I was brought to think of my friend, M. 
Ernest Valdemar, the well-known compiler of the "Bibliotheca 
Forensica," and author (under the nom deplume of Issachar Marx) 
of the Polish versions of " Wallenstein" and "Gargantua." M. 
Valdemar, who has resided principally at Harlem, N. Y., since the 
year 1839, is (or was) particularly noticeable for the extreme spare- 
ness of his person his lower limbs much resembling those of John 
Randolph ; and, also, for the whiteness of his whiskers, in violent 
contrast to the blackness of his hair the latter, in consequence, 
being very generally mistaken for a wig. His temperament was 
markedly nervous, and rendered him a good subject for mesmeric 
experiment. On two or three occasions I had put him to sleep 
with little difficulty, but was disappointed in other results which 
his peculiar constitution had naturally led me to anticipate. His 
will was at no period positively, or thoroughly, under my control ; 
and in regard to clairvoyance, I could accomplish with him nothing 
to be relied upon. I always attributed my failure at these points 
to the disordered state of his health. For some months previous 
to my becoming acquainted with him, his physicians had declared 
him in a confirmed phthisis. It was his custom, indeed, to speak 
calmly of his approaching dissolution, as of a matter neither to be 
avoided nor regretted. 

When the ideas to which I have alluded first occurred to me, it 
was of course very natural that I should think of M. Valdemar. I 
knew the steady philosophy of the man too well to apprehend any 
scruples from him; and he had no relatives in America who would 
be likely to interfere. I spoke to him frankly upon the subject ; 
and, to my surprise, his interest seemed vividly excited. I say to 
my surprise ; for, although he had always yielded his person freely 
to my experiments, he had never before given me any tokens of 
sympathy with what I did. His disease was of that character 
which would admit of exact calculation in respect to the epoch of 
its termination in death ; and it was finally arranged between us 
that he would send for me about twenty-four hours before the 
period announced by his physicians as that of his decease. 



I 4 o WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

It is now rather more than seven months sines I received, from 
H. Valdemar himself, the subjoined note : 

" MY DEAE P , 

You may as well come now. D-= and 1? are agreed 

that I cannot hold out beyond to-morrow midnight ; and I think 
they have hit the time very nearly. " VALDEMAE." 

I received this note within half an hour after it was written, and 
in fifteen minutes more I was in the dying man s chamber. I had 
not seen him for ten days, and was appalled by the fearful alter 
ation which the brief interval had wrought in him. His face wore 
a leaden hue ; the eyes were utterly lustreless ; and the emaciation 
was so extreme, that . the skin had been broken through by the 
cheek-bones. His expectoration was excessive. The pulse was 
barely perceptible. He retained, nevertheless, in a very remarkable 
manner, both his mental power and a certain degree of physical 
strength. He spoke with distinctness took some palliative medi 
cines without aid and, when I entered the room, was occupied in 
penciling memoranda in a pocket-book. He was propped up in 

the bed by pillows. Doctors D and F were in attendance. 

After pressing Valdemar s hand, I took these gentlemen aside, and 
obtained from them a minute account of the patient s condition. 
The left lung had been for eighteen months in a semi-osseous or 
cartilaginous state, and was, of course, entirely useless for all pur 
poses of vitality. The right, in its upper portion, was also partially, 
if not thoroughly, ossified, while the lower region was merely a mass 
of purulent tubercles, running one into another. Several extensive 
perforations existed ; and, at one point, permanent adhesion to the 
ribs had taken place. These appearances in the right lobe were of 
comparatively recent date. The ossification had proceeded with 
very unusual rapidity ; no sign of it had been discovered a month 
before, and the adhesion had only been observed during the three 
previous days. Independently of the phthisis, the patient was 
suspected of aneurism of the aorta ; but on this point the osseous 
symptoms rendered an exact diagnosis impossible. It was the 
opinion of both physicians that M. Valdemar would die about 
midnight on the morrow (Sunday). It was then seven o clock on 
Saturday evening. 

On quitting the invalid s bed side to hold conversation with 
myself, Doctors D-*- and.J 1 *- had bidden him a final fare- 



THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF M. VALDEMAR. 14* 

well. It had not been their intention to return ; but, at my re 
quest, they agreed to look in upon the patient about ten the next 
night. 

When they had gone, I spoke freely with M. Valdemar on the 
subject of his approaching dissolution, as well as, more particularly, 
of the experiment proposed. He still professed himself quite will 
ing and even anxious to have it made, and urged me to commence 
it at once. A male and a female nurse were in attendance ; but I 
did not feel myself altogether at liberty to engage in a task of this 
character with no more reliable witnesses than these people, incase 
of sudden accident, might prove. I therefore postponed operations 
until about eight the next night, when the arrival of a medical 

student, with whom I had some acquaintance (Mr. Theodore L 1,) 

relieved me from farther embarrassment. It had been my design, 
originally, to wait for the physicians ; but I was induced to proceed, 
first, by the urgent entreaties of M. Valdemar, and secondly, by my 
conviction that I had not a moment to lose, as he was evidently 
sinking fast. 

Mr. L 1 was so kind as to accede to my desire that he would 

take notes of all that occurred ; and it is from his memoranda that 
what I now have to relate is, for the most part, either condensed 
or copied verbatim. 

It wanted about five minutes of eight when, taking the patient s 

hand, I begged him to state, as distinctly as he could, to Mr. L 1, 

whether he (M. Valdemar,) was entirely willing that I should make 
the experiment of mesmerizing him in his then condition. 

He replied feebly, yet quite audibly, " Yes, I wish to be mesmer 
ized" adding immediately afterwards, " I fear you have deferred it 
too long." 

While he spoke thus, I commenced the passes which I had 
already found most effectual in subduing him. He was evidently 
influenced with the first lateral stroke of my hand across his fore 
head ; but although I exerted all my powers, no farther perceptible 
effect was induced until some minutes after ten o clock, when 

Doctors D and F called, according to appointment. I 

explained to them, in a few words, what I designed, and as they 
opposed no objection, saying that the patient was already in the 
death agony, I proceeded without hesitation exchanging, however, 
the lateral passes for downward ones, and directing my gaze entirely 
into the right eye of the sufferer. 



142 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

By this time his pulse was imperceptible and his breathing was 
stertorous, and at intervals of half a minute. 

This condition was nearly unaltered for a quarter of an hour. 
At the expiration of this period, however, a natural, although a 
very deep sigh, escaped the bosom of the dying man, and the ster 
torous breathing ceased that is to say, its stertorousness was no 
longer apparent ; the intervals were undiminished. The patient s 
extremities were of an icy coldness. 

At five minutes before eleven I perceived unequivocal signs of 
the mesmeric influence. The glassy roll of the eye was changed 
for that expression of uneasy inward examination which is never 
seen except in cases of sleep-waking, and which it is quite impos 
sible to mistake. With a few rapid lateral passes I made the lids 
quiver, as in incipient sleep, and with a few more I closed them 
altogether. I was not satisfied, however, with this, but continued 
the manipulations vigorously, and with the fullest exertion of the 
will, until I had completely stiffened the limbs of the slumberer, 
after placing them in a seemingly easy position. The legs were 
at full length ; the arms were nearly so, and reposed on the bed 
at a moderate distance from the loins. The head was very slightly 
elevated. 

When I had accomplished this, it was fully midnight, and I 
requested the gentlemen present to examine M. Valdemar s con 
dition. After a few experiments, they admitted him to be in an 
unusually perfect state of mesmeric trance. The curiosity of both 

the physicians was greatly excited. Dr. D resolved at once to 

remain with the patient all night, while Dr. F took leave with 

a promise to return at daybreak. Mr. L 1 and the nurses 

remained. 

We left M. Valdemar entirely undisturbed until about three 
o clock in the morning, when I approached him, and found him in 

precisely the same condition as when Dr. F went away that 

is to say, he lay in the same position. The pulse was imperceptible ; 
the breathing was gentle (scarcely noticeable, unless through the 
application of a mirror to the lips) ; the eyes were closed naturally ; 
and the limbs were as rigid and as cold as marble. Still, the general 
appearance w r as certainly not that of death. 

As I approached M. Valdemar I made a kind of half effort to 
influence his right arm into pursuit of my own, as I passed the 
latter gently to and fro above his person, In such experiments 



THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF M. VALDEMAR. 143 

with this patient I had never perfectly succeeded before, and 
assuredly I had little thought of succeeding now ; but to my 
astonishment, his arm very readily, although feebly, followed every 
direction I assigned it with mine. I determined to hazard a few 
words of conversation. 

" M. Valdcmar," I said, " are you asleep ?" He made no answer, 
but I perceived a tremor about the lips, and was thus induced to 
repeat the question, again and again. At its third repetition, his 
whole frame was agitated by a very slight shivering ; the eyelids 
unclosed themselves so far as to display a white line of a ball ; the 
lips moved sluggishly, and from between them, in a barely audible 
whisper, issued the words : 

" Yes asleep now. Do not wake me! let me die so !" 

I here felt the limbs and found them as rigid as ever. The right 
arm, as before, obeyed the direction of my hand. I questioned the 
sleep-waker again : 

"Do you still feel pain in the breast, M. ValdemaH" 

The answer now was immediate, but even less audible thaii 
before : 

" No pain I am dying." 

I did not think it advisable to disturb him farther just then, and 
nothing more was said or done until the arrival of Dr. F \ who 1 
came a little before sunrise, and expressed unbounded astonish 
ment at finding the patient still alive. After feeling the pulse and 
applying a mirror to the lips, he requested me to speak to the sleep- 
waker again. I did so, saying : 

" M. Valdemar, do you still sleep 1" 

As before, some minutes elapsed ere a reply was made ; and 
during the interval the dying man seemed to be collecting his 
energies to speak. At my fourth repetition of the question, he said 
very faintly, almost inaudibly : 

" Yes ; still asleep dying." 

It was now the opinion, or rather the wish, of the physicians, 
that M. Valdemar should be suffered to remain undisturbed in his 
present apparently tranquil condition, until death should super 
veneand this, it was generally agreed, must now take place within 
a few minutes. I concluded, however, to speak to him once more, 
and merely repeated my previous question. 

While I spoke, there came a marked change over the countenance 
of the sleep-waker. The eyes rolled themselves slowly open, the 



144 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

pupils disappearing upwardly ; the skin generally assumed & 
cadaverous hue, resembling not so much parchment as white paper; 
and the circular hectic spots which, hitherto, had been strongly 
defined in the centre of each cheek, went out at once. I use this 
expression, because the suddenness of their departure put me in 
mind of nothing so much as the extinguishment of a candle by a 
puff of the breath. The upper lip, at the same time, writhed 
itself away from, the teeth, which it had previously covered com 
pletely ; while the lower jaw fell with an audible jerk, leaving 
the mouth widely extended, and disclosing in full view the swollen 
and blackened tongue. I presume that no member of the party 
then present had been unaccustomed to death-bed horrors ; but 
so hideous beyond conception was the appearance of M. Valdemar 
at this moment, that there was a general shrinking back from the 
region of the bed. 

I now feel that I have reached a point of this narrative at which 
every reader will be startled into positive disbelief. It is my busi 
ness, however, simply to proceed. 

There was no longer the faintest sign of vitality in M. Valdemar; 
and concluding him to be dead, we were consigning him to the 
charge of the nurses, when a strong vibratory motion was obser 
vable in the tongue. This continued for perhaps a minute. At 
the expiration of this period, there issued from the distended and 
motionless jaws a voice such as it would be madness in me to 
attempt describing. There are, indeed, two or three epithets which 
might be considered as applicable to it in part ; I might say, for 
example, that the sound was harsh, and broken and hollow ; but 
the hideous wiiole is indescribable, for the simple reason that no 
similar sounds have ever jarred upon the ear of humanity. There 
were two particulars, nevertheless, which I thought then, and still 
think, might fairly be stated as characteristic of the intonation 
as well adapted to convey some idea of its unearthly peculiarity. 
In the first place, the voice seemed to reach our ears at least mine 
from a vast distance, or from some deep cavern within the earth. 
In the second place, it impressed me (I fear, indeed, that it will 
be impossible to make myself comprehended) as gelatinous or 
glutinous matters impress the sense of touch. 

I have spoken both of " sound " and of " voice." I mean to say 
that the sound was one of distinct of even wonderfully, thrillingly 
distinct syllabification. M. Valdemar spoke obviously in reply 



THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF M. VALDEMAR. 145 

to the question I had propounded to him a few minutes before. 
I had asked him. it will be remembered, if he still slept. He now 
said : 

" Yes ; no ; I have been sleeping and now now lam dead: 

No person present even affected to deny, or attempted to repress, 
the unutterable, shuddering horror which these few words, thus 

uttered, were "so well calculated to convey. Mr. L 1 (the 

student) swooned. The nurses immediately left the chamber, and 
could not be induced to return. My own impressions I would not 
pretend to render intelligible to the reader. For nearly an hour, 
we busied ourselves, silently without the utterance of a word 

in endeavours to revive Mr. L 1. When he came to himself, 

we addressed ourselves again to an investigation of M. Valclemar s 
condition. 

It remained in all respects as I have last described it, with the 
exception that the mirror no longer afforded evidence of respira 
tion. An attempt to draw blood from the arm failed. I should 
mention, too, that this limb was no farther subject to my will. I 
endeavoured in vain to make it follow the direction of my hand. 
The only real indication, indeed, of the mesmeric influence was 
now found in the vibratory movement of the tongue, whenever I 
addressed M. Valdemar a question. He seemed to be making an 
effort to reply, but had no longer sufficient volition. To queries 
put to him by any other person than myself he seemed utterly 
insensible although I endeavoured to place each member of the 
company in mesmeric rapport with him. I believe that I have 
now related all that is necessary to an understanding of the sleep - 
vvaker s state at this epoch. Other nurses were procured ; and at 
ten o clock I left the house in company with the two physicians 
and Mr. L 1. 

In the afternoon we all called again to see the patient. His 
condition remained precisely the same. We had now some dis 
cussion as to the propriety and feasibility of awakening him ; but 
we had little difficulty in agreeing that no good purpose would be 
served by so doing. It was evident that, so far, death (or what is 
usually termed death) had been arrested by the mesmeric process. 
It seemed clear to us all that to awaken M. Valdemar would be 
merely to insure his instant, or at least his speedy dissolution. 

From -this period until the close of last week an interval of 
nearly seven months we continued to make daily calls at M. 

10 



146 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

Valdemar s house, accompanied, now and then, by medical and 
other friends. All this time the sleep-waker remained exactly as 
I have last described him. The nurses attentions were continual. 

It was on Friday last that we finally resolved to make the expe 
riment of awakening, or attempting to awaken him ; and it is the 
(perhaps) unfortunate result of this latter experiment which has 
given rise to so much discussion in private circles to so much of 
what I cannot help thinking unwarranted popular feeling. 

For the purpose of relieving M. Valdemar from the mesmeric 
trance, I made use of the customary passes. These, for a time 
were unsuccessful. The first indication of revival was afforded by 
a partial descent of the iris. It was observed, as especially 
remarkable, that this lowering of the pupil was accompanied by the 
profuse outflowing of a yellowish ichor (from beneath the lids) of 
a pungent and highly offensive odour. 

It was now suggested that I should attempt to influence the 
patient s arm as heretofore. I made the attempt and failed. Dr. 

F. then intimated a desire to have me put a question. I did 

so, as follows : 

" M. Valdemar, can you explain to us what are your feelings or 
wishes now 

There was an instant return of the hectic circles on the cheeks ; 
the tongue quivered, or rather rolled violently in the mouth 
(although the jaws and lips remained rigid as before); and at 
length the same hideous voice which I have already described, 
broke forth : 

" For God s sake ! quick ! quick put me to, sleep or quick ! 
waken me ! quick ! 1 say to you that I am dead /" 

I was thoroughly unnerved, and for an instant remained unde 
cided what to do. At first I made an endeavour to re-compose the 
patient ; but, failing in this through total abeyance of the will, I 
retraced my steps, and as earnestly struggled to awaken him. In 
this attempt I soon saw that I should be successful or at least I 
soon fancied that my success would be complete and I am sure 
that all in the room were prepared to see the patient awaken. 

For what really occurred, however, it is quite impossible that 
any human being could have been prepared. 

As I rapidly made the mesmeric passes, amid ejaculations of 
"Dead ! dead !" absolutely bursting from the tongue and not from 
the lips of the sufferer, his whole frame at oncewithin the space 



THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF M. VALDEMAR. 147 

of a single minute, or even less, shrunk crumbled absolutely 
rotted away beneath my hands. Upon the bed, before that whole 
company, there lay a nearly liquid mass of loathsome of detest 
able putrescence. 



MS, FOUND IN A BOTTLE, 

Qui n a plus qu un moment a vivre 

N a plus rien a dissimuler. Quinault Atys. 

,* my country and of my family I have little to say. Ill 
usage and length of years have driven me from the one, 
and estranged me from the other. Hereditary wealth 
afforded me an education of no common order, and a contempla 
tive turn of mind enabled me to methodise the stories which early 
study diligently garnered up. Beyond all things, the works of the 
German moralists gave me a great delight ; not from my ill-advised 
admiration of their eloquent madness, but from the ease with which 
my habits of rigid thought enabled me to detect their falsities. I 
have often been reproached with the aridity of my genius ; a defi 
ciency of imagination has been imputed to me as a crime ; and the 
Pyrrhonism of my opinions has at all times rendered me notorious. 
Indeed, a strong relish for physical philosophy has, I fear, tinctured 
my mind with a very common error of this age I mean the habit 
of referring occurrences, even the least susceptible of such refer 
ence, to the principles of that science. Upon the whole, no person 
could be less liable than myself to be led away from the severe 
precincts of truth by the igiiesfatui of superstition. I have thought 
proper to premise thus much, lest the incredible tale I have to tell 
should be considered rather the raving of a crude imagination, than 
the positive experience of a mind to which the reveries of fancy 
have been a dead letter and a nullity. 

After many years spent in foreign travel, I sailed in the year 
18 , from the port of Batavia, in the rich and populous island of 
Java, on a voyage to the Archipelago of the Sunda islands. I went 
as passenger having no other inducement than a kind of nervous 
restlessness which haunted me as a fiend. 

Our vessel was a beautiful ship of about four hundred tons, 
copper-fastened, and built at Bombay of Malabar teak. She was 

102 



148 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

freighted with cotton-wool and oil, from the Lachadive islands. 
We had also on board coir, jaggeree, ghee, cocoa-nuts, and a few 
cases of opium. The stowage was clumsily done, and the vessel 
consequently crank. 

We got under way with a mere breath of wind, and for many 
days stood along the eastern coast of Java, without any other inci 
dent to beguile the monotony of our course than the occasional 
meeting with some of the small grabs of the Archipelago to which 
we were bound. 

One evening, leaning over the taffrail, I observed a very singular 
isolated cloud, to the N. W. It was remarkable, as well for its 
colour, as from its being the first we had seen since our departure 
from Batavia. I watched it attentively until sunset, when it spread 
all at once to the eastward and westward, girting in the horizon 
with a narrow strip of vapour, and looking like a long line of low 
beach. My notice was soon afterwards attracted by the dusky-red 
appearance of tjie moon, and the peculiar character of the sea. 
The latter was undergoing a rapid change, and the water seemed 
more than usually transparent. Although I could distinctly see 
the bottom, yet, heaving the lead, I found the ship in fifteen fathoms. 
The air now became intolerably hot, and was loaded with spiral 
exhalations similar to those arising from heated iron. As night 
came on, every breath of wind died away, and a more entire calm 
it is impossible to conceive. The flame of a candle burned upon 
the poop without the least perceptible motion, and a long hair, 
held between the finger and thumb, hung without the possibility 
of detecting a vibration. However, as the captain said he could 
perceive no indication of danger, and as we were drifting in bodily 
to shore, he ordered the sails to be furled, and the anchor let go. 
No watch was set. and the crew, consisting principally" of Malays, 
stretched themselves deliberately upon deck. I went below not 
without a full presentiment of evil. Indeed, every appearance 
warranted me in apprehending a simoom. I told the captain my 
fears ; but he paid no attention to what I said, and left me without 
deigning to give a reply. My uneasiness, however, prevented me 
from Bleeping, and about midnight I went upon deck. As I placed 
my foot upon the upper step of the companion-ladder, I was startled 
by a loud, humming noise, like that occasioned by the rapid revolu 
tion of a mill-wheel, and before I could ascertain its meaning, 
I found the ship quivering to its centre. In the next instant, a 



MS. FOUND IN A BOTTLE. 149 

wilderness of foam liurled us upon our beam-ends, and, rushing 
over us fore and aft, swept the entire decks frdm stem to stern. 

The extreme fury of the blast proved, in a great measure, the 
salvation of the ship. Although completely water-logged, yet, as 
her masts had gone by the board, she rose, after a minute, heavily 
from the sea, and, staggering awhile beneath the immense pressure 
of the tempest, finally righted. 

By what miracle I escaped destruction, it is impossible to say. 
Stunned by the shock of the water, I found myself, upon recover}*, 
jammed in between the stern-post and rudder, With great diffi 
culty I gained my feet, and looking dizzily around, was at first 
struck with the idea of our being among breakers ; so terrific, 
beyond the wildest imagination, was the whirlpool of mountainous 
and foaming ocean within which we were engulfed. After a while> 
I heard the voice of an old Swede, who had shipped with us at the 
moment of leaving port. I hallooed to him with all my strength, 
and presently he came reeling aft. We soon discovered that, we 
were the sole survivors of the accident. All on deck, with the 
exception of ourselves, had been swept overboard ; the captain and 
mates must have perished as they slept, for the cabins were deluged 
with water. Without assistance, we could expect to do little for 
the security of the ship, and our exertions were at first paralyzed 
by the momentary expectation of going down. Our cable had, of 
course, parted like pack-thread, at the first breath of the hurricane, 
or we should have been instantaneously overwhelmed. We scudded 
with frightful velocity before the sea, and the water made clear 
breaches over us. The frame-work of our stern was shattered ex 
cessively, and, in almost every respect, tre had received considerable 
injury ; but to our extreme joy we found the pumps unchoked, 
and that we had made no great shifting of our ballast. The main 
fury of the blast had already blown over, and we apprehended 
little danger from the violence of the wind ; but we looked forward 
to its total cessation with dismay, well believing, that in our shat 
tered condition, we should inevitably perish in the tremendous 
swell which would ensue. But this very just apprehension seemed 
by no means likely to be soon verified. For five entire days and 
nights during which our only subsistence was a small quantity of 
jaggeree, procured with great difficulty from the forecastle the 
hulk flew at a rate defying computation, before rapidly succeeding 
flaws of wind, which without equalling the first violence of the 



150 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

simoom, were still more terrific than any tempest I had before 
encountered. Our course for the first four days was, with trifling 
variations, S. E. and by S. ; and we must have run down the coast 
of New Holland. On the fifth day the cold became extreme, 
although the wind had hauled round a point more to the north 
ward. The sun arose with a sickly yellow lustre, and clambered a 
very few degrees above the horizon emitting no decisive light. 
There were no clouds apparent, yet the wind was upon the increase, 
and blew 7 with a fitful and unsteady fury. About noon, as nearly 
as we could guess, our attention was again arrested by the appear 
ance of the sun. It gave out no light, properly so called, but a dull 
and sullen glow without reflection, as if all its rays were polarized. 
Just before sinking within the turgid sea, its central fires suddenly 
went out, as if hurriedly extinguished by some unaccountable 
power. It was a dim, silver-like rim, alone, as it rushed down the 
unfathomable ocean. 

We waited in vain for the arrival of the sixth day that day to 
me has not arrived to the Swede, never did arrive. Thencefor 
ward we were enshrouded in pitchy darkness, so that we could not 
have seen an object at twenty paces from the ship. Eternal night 
continued to envelop us, all unrelieved by the phosphoric sea- 
brilliancy to which we had been accustomed in the tropics. We 
observed, too, that, although the tempest continued to rage with 
unabated violence, there was no longer to be discovered the usual 
appearance of surf, or foam, which had hitherto attended us. All 
around were horror, and thick gloom, and a black sweltering desert 
of ebony. Superstitious terror crept by degrees into the spirit of 
the old Swede, and my own soul was wrapped up in silent wonder. 
We neglected all care of the ship, as worse than useless, and secur 
ing ourselves, as well as possible, to the stump of the mizen-mast, 
looked out bitterly into the world of ocean. We had no means of 
calculating time, nor could we form any guess of our situation. 
We were, however, well aware of having made farther to the south 
ward than any previous navigators, and felt great amazement at 
not meeting with the usual impediments of ice. In the meantime 
every moment threatened to be our last every mountainous billow 
hurried to overwhelm us. The swell surpassed anything I had 
imagined possible, and that we were not instantly buried is a 
miracle. My companion spoke of the lightness of our cargo, and 
reminded me of the excellent qualities of our ship ; but I could not 



MS. FOUND IN A BOTTLE. 151 

help feeling the utter hopelessness of hope itself, and prepared 
myself gloomily for that death which I thought nothing could defer 
beyond an hour, as with every knot of way the ship made, the 
swelling of the black stupendous seas became more dismally 
appalling. At times we gasped for breath at an elevation beyond 
the albatross at times became dizzy with the velocity of our 
descent into some watery hell, where the air grew stagnant, and no 
sound disturbed the slumbers of the kraken. 

We were at the bottom of one of these abysses, when a quick 
scream from my companion broke fearfully upon the night. " See ! 
see!" cried he, shrieking in my ears, "Almighty God ! see! see!" 
As he spoke, I became aware of a dull, sullen glare of red light 
which streamed down the sides of the vast chasm where we lay, 
and threw a fitful brilliancy upon our deck. Casting my eyes 
upwards, I beheld a spectacle which froze the current of my blood. 
At a terrific height directly above us, and upon the very verge of 
the precipitous descent, hovered a gigantic ship, of perhaps four 
thousand tons. Although upreared upon the summit of a wave 
more than a hundred times her own altitude, her apparent size still 
exceeded that of any ship of the line or East Indiaman in exist 
ence. Her huge hull was of a deep dingy black, unrelieved by any 
of the customary carvings of a ship. A single row of brass cannon 
protruded from her open ports, and dashed from their polished 
surfaces the fires of innumerable battle-lanterns which swung to 
and fro about her rigging. But what mainly inspired us with 
horror and astonishment, was that she bore up under a press of 
sail in the very teeth of that supernatural sea, and of that ungovern 
able hurricane. When we first discovered her, her bows were alone 
to be seen, as she rose slowly from the dim and horrible gulf beyond 
her. For a moment of intense terror she paused upon the giddy 
pinnacle, as if in contemplation of her own sublimity, then trem 
bled and tottered, and came down. 

At this instant, I know not what sudden self-possession came 
over my spirit. Staggering as far aft as I could, I awaited fear 
lessly the ruin that was to overwhelm. Our own vessel was at 
length ceasing from her struggles, and sinking with her head to the 
sea. The shock of the descending mass struck her, consequently, 
in that portion of her frame which was nearly under water, and the 
inevitable result was to hurl me, with irresistible violence, upon 
the rigging of the stranger. 



152 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

As I fell, the ship hove in stays, and went about; and to the 
confusion ensuing I attributed my escape from the notice of the 
crew. With little difficulty I made my way, unperceived, to the 
main hatchway, which was partially open, and soon found an 
opportunity of secreting myself in the hold. Why I did so I can 
hardly tell. An indefinite sense of awe, which at first sight of *l?.e 
navigators of the ship had taken hold of my mind, was perhaps the 
principle of my concealment. I was unwilling to trust myself 
with a race of people who had offered, to the cursory glance I had 
taken, so many points of vague novelty, doubt, and apprehension. 
I therefore thought proper to contrive a hiding-place in the hold. 
This I did by removing a small portion of the shifting-boards, in 
such a manner as to afford me a convenient retreat between the 
huge timbers of the ship. 

I had scarcely completed my work, when a footstep in the hold 
forced me to make use of it. A man passed by my place of con 
cealment with a feeble and unsteady gait. I could not see his face, 
but had an opportunity of observing his general appearance. There 
was about it an evidence of great age and infirmity. His knees 
tottered beneath a load of years, and his entire frame quivered 
under the burthen. He muttered to himself, in a low broken tone, 
some words of a language which I could not understand, and 
groped in a corner among a pile of singular-looking instruments, 
and decayed charts of navigation. His manner was a wild mixture 
of the peevishness of second childhood and the solemn dignity of 
a God. He at length went on deck, and I saw him no more. 
***** 

A feeling, for which I have no name, has taken possession of my 
soul a sensation which will admit of no analysis, to which the 
lessons of bygone time are inadequate, and for which I fear 
futurity itself will offer me no key. To a mind constituted like 
my own, the latter consideration is an evil. I shall never I know 
that I shall never be satisfied with regard to the nature of my 
conceptions. Yet it is not wonderful that these conceptions are 
indefinite, since they have their origin in sources so utterly novel. 
A new sense a new entity is added to my soul. 

***** 

It is long since I first trod the deck of this terrible ship, and the 
rays of my destiny are, I think, gathering to a focus. Incompre 
hensible men ! Wrapped up in meditations of a kind which I 



MS. FOUND IN A BOTTLE. 153 

cannot divine, they pass me by unnoticed. Concealment is utter 
folly on my part, for the people will not see. It was but just now 
that I passed directly before the eyes of the mate ; it was no long 
while ago that I ventured into the captain s own private cabin, and 
took thence the materials with which I w T rite, and have written. 
I shall from time to time continue this journal. It is true that I 
may not find an opportunity of transmitting it to the world, but 
I will not fail to make the endeavour. At the last moment I will 
enclose the MS. in a bottle, and cast it within the sea. 
# * * * * 

An incident has occurred which has given me new room for 
meditation. Are such things the operation of ungoverned chance] 
I had ventured upon deck i::i:l thrown myself down, without 
attracting any notice, among a pile of ratlin-stuff and old sails, in 
the bottom of the yawl. While musing upon the singularity of my 
fate, I unwittingly daubed with a tar-brush the edges of a neatly- 
folded studding-sail which lay near me on a barrel. The studding- 
sail is now bent upon the ship, and the thoughtless touches of the 
brush are spread out into the word DISCOVERY. 

I have made many observations lately upon the structure of the 
vessel. Although well armed, she is not, I think, a ship of war. 
Her rigging, build, and general equipment, all negative a suppo 
sition of this kind. What she is not, I can easily perceive ; what 
she is, I fear it is impossible to say. I know not how it is, but in 
scrutinizing her strange model and singular cast of spars, her huge 
size and overgrown suits of canvas, her severely simple bow and 
antiquated stern, there will occasionally flash across my mind a 
sensation of familiar things, and there is always mixed up with 
such indistinct shadows of recollection, an unaccountable memory 
of old foreign chronicles and ages long ago. 

I have been looking at the timbers of the ship. She is built of 
a material to which I am a stranger. There is a peculiar character 
about the wood which strikes me as rendering it unfit for the pur 
pose to which it has been applied. I mean its extreme porowness t 
considered independently of the worm-eaten condition which is a 
consequence of navigation in these seas, and apart from the rotten 
ness attendant upon age. It will appear, perhaps, an observation 
somewhat over-curious, but this wood would have every charac 
teristic of Spanish oak, if Spanish oak were distended by any 
unnatural means. 



154 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

In reading the above sentence, a curious apothegm of an old 
weather-beaten Dutch navigator comes full upon my recollection. 
" It is as sure," he was wont to say, when any doubt was entertained 
of his veracity, " as sure as there is a sea where the ship itself will 
grow in bulk like the living body of the seaman." 

About an hour ago I made bold to trust myself among a group 
of the crew. They paid me no manner of attention, and, although 
I stood in the very midst of them all, seemed utterly unconscious 
of my presence. Like the one I had at first seen in the hold, they all 
bore about them the marks of a hoary old age. Their knees 
trembled with infirmity ; their shoulders were bent double with 
decrepitude ; their shrivelled skins rattled in the wind ; their 
voices were low, tremulous, and broken ; their eyes glistened with 
the rheum of years ; and their grey hairs streamed terribly in the 
tempest. Around them, on every part of the deck, lay scattered 
mathematical instruments of the most quaint and obsolete con 
struction. * 

I mentioned, some time ago, the bending of a studding-sail. 
From that period, the ship, being thrown dead off the wind, has 
continued her terrific course due south, with every rag of canvas 
packed upon her, from her truck to her lower studding-sail booms, 
and rolling every moment her top-gallant yard-arms into the most 
appalling hell of water which it can enter into the mind of man to 
imagine. I have just left the deck, where I find it impossible to 
maintain a footing, although the crew seein to experience little 
inconvenience. It appears to me a miracle of miracles that our 
enormous bulk is not swallowed up at once and for ever. We are 
surely doomed to hover continually upon the brink of eternity, 
without taking a final plunge into the abyss. From billows a 
thousand times more stupendous than any I have ever seen, we 
glide away with the facility of the arrowy sea-gull ; and the colossal 
waters rear their heads above us like demons of the deep, but like 
demons confined to simple threats, and forbidden to destroy. I 
am led to attribute these frequent escapes to the only natural cause 
which can account for such effect. I must suppose the ship to be 
within the influence of some strong current, or impetuous under 
tow. *-..</#* 

I have seen the captain face to face, and in his own cabin but, 
as I expected, he paid me no attention. Although in his appear 
ance there is, to a casual observer, nothing which might bespeak 



MS. FOUND IN A BOTTLE. 155 

him more or less than man, still, a feeling of irrepressible reverence 
and awe mingled with the sensation of wonder with which I re 
garded him. In stature, he is nearly my own height; that is, 
about five feet eight inches. He is of a well-knit and compact 
frame of body, neither robust nor remarkable otherwise. But it is 
the singularity of the expression which reigns upon the face it is 
the intense, the wonderful, the thrilling evidence of old age so 
utter, so extreme, which excites within my spirit a sense a senti 
ment ineffable. His forehead, although little wrinkled, seems to 
bear upon it the stamp of a myriad of years. His grey hairs are 
records of the past, and his greyer eyes are sybils of the future. 
The cabin floor was thickly strewn with strange, iron-clasped folios, 
and mouldering instruments of science, and obsolete long-forgotten 
charts. His head was bowed down upon his hands, and he pored, 
with a fiery, unquiet eye, over a paper which I took to be a com 
mission, and which, at all events, bore the signature of a monarch. 
He muttered to himself as did the first seaman whom I saw in 
the hold some low peevish syllables of a foreign tongue ; and 
although the speaker was close at my elbow, his voice seemed to 
reach my ears from the distance of a mile. * 

The ship and all in it are imbued with the spirit of Eld. The 
crew glide to and fro like the ghosts of buried centuries \ their eyes 
have an eager and uneasy meaning ; and when their fingers fall 
athwart my path in the wild glare of the battle-lanterns, I feel as 
I have never felt before, although I have been all my life a dealer 
in antiquities, and have imbibed the shadows of fallen columns at 
Balbec, and Tadrnor, and Persepolis, until my very soul has become 
a ruin. * 

When I look around me, I feel ashamed of my former apprehen 
sions. If I trembled at the blast which has hitherto attended 
us, shall I not stand aghast at a warring of wind and ocean, to 
convey any idea of which, the words tornado and simoom are trivial 
and ineffective 1 All in the immediate vicinity of the ship is the 
blackness of eternal night, and a chaos of foamless water ; but, 
about a league on either side of us, may be seen, indistinctly, and 
at intervals, stupendous ramparts of ice, towering away into the 
desolate sky, and looking like the walls of the universe. * * 

As I imagined, the ship proves to be in a current if that appel 
lation can properly be given to a tide which, howling and shrieking 



156 WORK S OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

by the white ice, thunders on to the southward Avith a velocity like 
the headlong dashing of a cataract. 

To conceive the horror of my sensations is, I presume, utterly 
impossible ; yet a curiosity to penetrate the mysteries of these 
awful regions predominates even over my despair, and will recon 
cile me to the most hideous aspect of death. It is evident that we 
are hurrying onwards to some exciting knowledge some never-to- 
be-imparted secret, whose attainment is destraction. Perhaps this 
current leads us to the southern pole itself. It must be confessed 
that a supposition apparently so wild has every probability in its 
favour. ****** 

The crew pace the deck with unquiet and tremulous step ; but 
there is upon their countenance an expression more of the eagerness 
of hope than of the apathy of despair. 

In the meantime the wind is still in our poop, and, as we carry 
a crowd of canvas, the ship is at times lifted bodily from out the 
sea ! Oh, horror upon horror ! the ice opens suddenly to the 
right, and to the left, and we are whirling dizzily, in immense 
concentric circles, round and round the borders of a gigantic am 
phitheatre, the summit of whose walls is lost in the darkness and 
the distance. But little time will be left me to ponder upon my 
destiny ! The circles rapidly grow small we are plunging madly 
within the grasp of the whirlpool and amid a roaring, and 
bellowing, and thundering of ocean and tempest, the ship is quiver 
ing oh God ! and going down ! 

Jfote. The "MS. Found in a Bottle" was originally published in 
1831 ; and it was not until many years afterwards that I became 
acquainted with the maps of Mercator, in which the ocean is repre 
sented as rushing, by four mouths, into the (northern) Polar Gulf, to be 
absorbed into the bowels of the earth ; the Pole itself being represented 
by a black rock, towering to a prodigiru^ height. 



A DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM. 



A DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM, 

* The ways of God in Nature, as in Providence, are not as our ways j 
nor are the models that we frame any way commensurate to the vast- 
ness, profundity, and unsearchableness of His works, wJilch have a depth 
in them greater than the well of Dcmocritus." Joseph Glanville. 

E had now reached the summit of the loftiest crag. For 
some minute s the old man seemed too much exhausted to 
speak. 

" Not long ago," said he at length, " and I could have guided 
you on this route as well as the youngest of my sons ; but, about 
three years past, there happened to me an event such as never 
happened before to mortal man or at least such as no man ever 
survived to tell of and the six hours of deadly terror which I then 
endured have broken me up body and soul. You suppose me a 
very old man but I am not. It took less than a single clay to 
change these hairs from a jetty black to white, to weaken my 
limbs, and to unstring my nerves, so that I tremble at the least 
exertion, and am frightened at a shadow. Do you know I can 
scarcely look over this little cliff without getting giddy T 

The " little cliff," upon whose edge he had so carelessly thrown 
himself down to rest, that the weightier portion of his body hung 
over it, while he was only kept from falling by the tenure of his 
elbow on its extreme and slippery edge this " little cliff " arose, a 
sheer unobstructed precipice of black shining rock, some fifteen or 
sixteen hundred feet from the world of crags beneath us. Nothing 
would have tempted me to within half a dozen yards of its brink. 
In truth so deeply was I excited by the perilous position of my 
companion, that I fell at full length upon the ground, clung to tho 
shrubs around me, and dared not even glance upward at the sky- 
while I struggled in vain to divest myself of the idea that the very 
foundations of the mountain were in danger from the fury of the 
winds. It was long before I could reason myself into sufficient 
courage to sit up and look out into the distance. 

" You must get over these fancies," said the guide, " for I have 
brought you here that you might have the best possible view of the 
scene of that event I mentioned and to tell you the whole story 
with the spot just under your eye." 



158 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

"We are now," lie continued, in that particularizing manner 
which distinguished him "we are now close upon the Norwegian 
coast in the sixty-eighth degree of latitude in the great province 
of Nordland and in the dreary district of Lofoden. The mountain 
upon whose top we sit is Helseggen, the Cloudy. Now raise your 
self up a little higher hold on to the grass if you feel giddyso 
and look out, beyond the belt of vapour beneath us, into the sea." 

I looked dizzily, and beheld a wide expanse of ocean, whose 
waters wore so inky a hue as to bring at once to my mind the 
Nubian geographer s account of the Mare Tenebrarum. A panorama 
more deplorably desolate no human imagination can conceive. To 
the right and left, as far as the eye could reach, there lay out 
stretched, like ramparts of the world, lines of horridly black and 
beetling cliff, whose character of gloom was but the more forcibly 
illustrated by the surf which reared high up against it its white and 
ghastly crest, howling and shrieking for ever. Just opposite the 
promontory upon whose apex we were placed, and at a distance of 
some five or six miles out at sea, there was visible a small, bleak- 
looking island ; or, more properly, its position was discernible 
through the wilderness of surge in which it was enveloped. About 
two miles nearer the land, arose another of smaller size, hideously 
craggy and barren, and encompassed at various intervals by a 
cluster of dark rocks. 

The appearance of the ocean, "in the space between the more 
distant island and the shore, had something very unusual about it. 
Although, at the time, so strong a gale was blowing landward that 
a brig in the remote offing lay to under a double-reefed trysail, and 
constantly plunged her whole hull out of sight, still there was here 
nothing like a regular swell, but only a short, quick, angry cross 
dashing of water in every direction as well in the teeth of the 
wind as otherwise. Of foam there was little except in the imme 
diate vicinity of the rocks. 

" The island in the distance," resumed the old man, " is called 
by the Norwegians Vurrgh. The one midway is Moskoe. That 
a mile to the northward is Ambaaren. Yonder are Islesen, Ho- 
tholm, Keildhelm, Suarven, and Buckholm. Farther off between 
Moskoe and Vurrgh are Otterholra, Flimen, Sandflesen, and 
Stockholm. These are the true names of the places but why it 
has been thought necessary to name them at all, is more than 



A DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM. 15$ 

either you or I can understand. Do you hear anything ? Do you 
see any change in the water T 

We had now been about ten minutes upon the top of Helseggen, 
to which we had ascended from the interior of Lofoden, so that we 
had caught no glimpse of the sea until it had burst upon us from 
the summit. As the old man spoke, I became aware of a loud and 
gradually increasing sound, like the moaning of a vast herd of 
buffaloes upon an American prairie ; and at the same moment I 
perceived what seamen term the chopping character of the ocean 
beneath us, was rapidly changing into a current which set to the 
eastward. Even while I gazed, this current acquired a monstrous 
velocity. Each moment added to its speed to its headlong 
impetuosity. In five minutes the whole sea, as far as Vurrgh, was 
lashed into ungovernable fury ; but it was between Moskoe and 
the coast that the main uproar held its sway. Here the vast bed 
of the waters, seamed and scarred into a thousand conflicting 
channels, burst suddenly into [ frenzied convulsion heaving, 
boiling, hissing gyrating in gigantic and innumerable vortices, 
and all whirling and plunging on to the eastward with a rapidity 
which water never elsewhere assumes, except in precipitous 
descents. 

In a few minutes more, there came over the scene another 
radical alteration. The general surface grew somewhat more 
smooth, and the whirlpools, one by one, disappeared, while pro 
digious streaks of foam became apparent where none had been 
seen before. These streaks, at length, spreading out to a great 
distance, and entering into combination, took unto themselves the 
gyratory motion of the subsided vortices, and seemed to form the 
germ of another more vast. Suddenly very suddenly this 
assumed a distinct and definite existence, in a circle of more than 
a mile in diameter. The edge of the whirl was represented by a 
broad belt of gleaming spray ; but no particle of this slipped into 
the mouth of the terrific funnel, whose interior, as far as the eye 
could fathom it, was a smooth, shining, and jet-black wall of 
water, inclined to the horizon at an angle of some forty-five degrees, 
speeding dizzily round and round with a swaying and sweltering 
motion, and sending forth to the winds an appalling voice, half 
shriek, half-roar, such as not even the mighty cataract of Niagara 
ever lifts up in its agony to Heaven. 

The mountain trembled to its very base, and the rock rocked. 



l6o WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

I threw myself upon my face, and clung to tho scant herbage in 
an excess of nervous agitation. 

" This," said I at length, to the old man " this can be nothing 
else than the great whirlpool of the Maelstrom." 

" So it is sometimes termed," said he. " We Norwegians call it 
the Moskoe-strom, from the island of Moskoe in the midway." 

The ordinary accounts of this vortex had by no means prepared 
me for what I saw. That of Jonas Eamus, which is perhaps the 
most circumstantial of any, cannot impart the faintest conception 
either of the magnificence, or of the horror of the scene or of the 
wild bewildering sense of the novel which confounds the beholder. 
I am not sure from what point of view the writer in question 
surveyed it, nor at what time ; but it could neither have been from 
the summit of Helseggen, nor during a storm. There are some 
passages of his description, nevertheless, which may be quoted for 
their details, although their effect is exceedingly feeble in convey 
ing an impression of the spectacle. 

"Between Lofoden and Moskoe," he says, the depth of the 
water is between thirty-six and forty fathoms ; but on the other 
side, toward Ver (Vurrgh), this depth decreases so as not to afford a 
convenient passage for a vessel, without the risk of splitting on 
the rocks, which happens even in the calmest weather. When it 
is flood, the stream runs up the country between Lofoden and 
Moskoe with a boisterous rapidity ; but the roar of its impetuous 
ebb to the sea is scarce equalled by the loudest and most dreadful 
cataracts ; the noise being heard several leagues off, and the vor 
tices or pits are of such an extent and depth, that if a ship comes 
within its attraction, it is inevitably absorbed and carried down to 
the bottom, and there beat to pieces against the rocks ; and when 
the water relaxes, the fragments thereof are thrown up again. 
But these intervals of tranquillity are only at the turn of the ebb 
and flood, and in calm weather, and last but a quarter of an hour, 
its violence gradually returning. When the stream is most 
boisterous, and its fury heightened by a storm, it is dangerous to 
come within a Norway mile of it. Boats, yachts, and ships have 
been carried away by not guarding against it before they were 
within its reach. It likewise happens frequently, that whales come 
too near the stream, and are overpowered by its violence ; and then 
it is impossible to describe their howlings and bellowings in their 
fruitless struggles to disengage themselves. A bear once, attempt- 



A DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM. 161 

ing to swim from Lofoden to Moskoe, was caught by the stream 
and borne down, while he roared terribly, so as to be heard on 
shore. Large stocks of firs and pine trees, after being absorbed by 
the current, rise again broken and torn to such a degree as if 
bristles grew upon them. This plainly shows the bottom to consist 
of craggy rocks, among which they are whirled to and fro. This 
stream is regulated by the flux and reflux of the sea it being con 
stantly high and low water every six hours. In the year 1645, 
early in the morning of Sexagesima Sunday, it raged with such 
noise and impetuosity that the very stones of the houses on the 
coast fell to the ground." 

In regard to the depth of the water, I could not see how this 
could have been ascertained at all in the immediate vicinity of the 
vortex. The " forty fathoms " must have reference only to por 
tions of the channel close upon the shore either of Moskoe or 
Lofoden. The depth in the centre of the Moskoe-strom must be 
immeasurably greater ; and no better proof of this fact is necessary 
than can be obtained from even the sidelong glance into the abyss 
of the whirl which may be had from the highest crag of Helseggen. 
Looking down from this pinnacle upon the howling Phlegethon 
below, I could not help smiling at the simplicity with which the 
honest Jonas Ramus records, as a matter difficult of belief, the 
anecdotes of the whales and the bears ; for it appeared to me, in 
fact, a self-evident thing, that the largest ships of the line in 
existence, coming within the influence of that deadly attraction, 
could resist i ; as little as a feather the hurricane, and must dis 
appear bodily and at once. 

The attempts to account for the phenomenon some of which, 
I remember, seemed to rne sufficiently plausible in perusal now 
wore a very different and unsatisfactory aspect. The idea generally 
received is that this, as well as three smaller vortices among the 
Faroe islands, " have no other cause than the collision of waves 
rising and falling, at flux and reflux, against a ridge of rocks and 
shelves, which confines the water so that it precipitates itself like 
a cataract ; and thus the higher the flood rises, the deeper must 
the fall be, and the natural result of all is a whirlpool or vortex, 
the prodigious suction of which is sufficiently known by lesser 
experiments." These are the words of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. 
Kircher and others imagine that in the centre of the channel of 
the Maelstrom is an abyss penetrating the globe, and issuing in 

ii 



i6a WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN P0. 

some very remote part the Gulf of Bothnia being somewhat de 
cidedly named in one instance. This opinion, idle in itself, was the 
one to which, as I gazed, my imagination most readily assented ; 
and, mentioning it to the guide, I was rather surprised to hear him 
say that, although it was the view almost universally entertained 
of the subject by the Norwegians, it nevertheless was not his own. 
As to the former notion he confessed his inability to comprehend 
it ; and here I agreed with him for, however conclusive on paper, 
it becomes altogether unintelligible, and even absurd, amid the 
thunder of the abyss. 

" You have had a good look at the whirl now," said the old man, 
" and if you will creep round this crag, so as to get in its lee, and 
deaden the roar of the water, I will tell you a story that will con 
vince you I ought to know something of the Moskoe-strom." 

I placed myself as desired, and he proceeded. 

"Myself and my two brothers once owned a schooner- rigged 
smack of about seventy tons burden, with which we were in the 
habit of fishing among the islands beyond Moskoe, nearly to 
Vurrgh. In all violent eddies at sea there is good fishing, at 
proper opportunities, if one has only the courage to attempt it ; 
but among the whole of the Lofoden coastmen, we three were the 
only ones who made a regular business of going out to the islands, 
as I tell you. The usual grounds are a great way lower down to 
the southward. There fish can be got at all hours, without much 
risk, and therefore these places are preferred. The choice spots 
over here among the rocks, however, not only yield the finest 
variety, but in far greater abundance ; so that we often got in a 
single day, what the more timid of the craft could not scrape 
together in a week. In fact, we made it a matter of desperate 
speculation the risk of life standing instead of labour, and 
courage answering for capital. 

" We kept the smack in a cove about five miles higher up the 
coast than this ; and it was our practice, in fine weather, to take 
advantage of the fifteen minutes slack to push across the main 
channel of the Moskoe-strom, far above the pool, and then drop 
down upon anchorage somewhere near Otterholm, or Sandflesen, 
where the eddies are not so violent as elsewhere. Here we used 
to remain until nearly time for slack- water again, when we 
weighed and made for home. We never set out upon this expedi 
tion without a steady side wind for going and coming one that we 



A DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM. 163 

felt sure would not fail us before our return and we seldom made 
a mis-calculation upon this point. Twice, during six years, we 
were forced to stay all night at anchor on account of a dead calm, 
which is a rare thing indeed just about here ; and once we had to 
remain on the grounds nearly a week, starving to death, owing to 
a gale which blew up shortly after our arrival, and made the channel 
too boisterous to be thought of. Upon this occasion we should 
have been driven out to sea in spite of everything, (for the whirl 
pools threw us round and round so violently, that, at length, we 
fouled our anchor and dragged it) if it had not been that we 
drifted into one of the innumerable cross currents here to-day 
and gone to-morrow which drove us under the lee of Flimen, 
where, by good luck, we brought up. 

" I could not tell you the twentieth part of the difficulties we 
encountered * on the ground it is a bad spot to be in, even in 
good weather but we made shift always to run the gauntlet of 
the Moskoe-strom itself without accident ; although at times my 
heart has been in my mouth when we happened to be a minute or 
so behind or before the slack. The wind sometimes was not as 
strong as we thought it at starting, and then we made rather less 
way than we could wish, while the current rendered the smack un 
manageable. My eldest brother had a son eighteen years old, and 
I had two stout boys of my own. These would have been of great 
assistance at such times, in using the sweeps, as well as afterwards 
in fishing but, somehow, although we ran the risk ourselves, we 
had not the heart to let the young ones get into danger for, after 
all said and done, it was a horrible danger, and that is the truth. 

" It is now within a few days of three years since what I am 
going to tell you occurred. It was on the tenth of July, 18 , a 
day which the people of this part of the world will never forget 
for it was one in which blew the most terrible hurricane that ever 
came out of the heavens. And yet all the morning, and indeed 
until late in the afternoon, there was a gentle and steady breeze 
from the south-west, while the sun shone brightly, so that the 
oldest seaman among us could not have foreseen what was to 
follow. 

" The three of us my two brothers and myself had crossed 
over to the islands about two o clock P.M., and soon nearly loaded 
the smack with fine fish, which, we all remarked, were more 
plenty that day than we had ever known them. It was just seven, 

112 



1 64 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOR. 

by my watch, when we weighed and started for home, so as to 
make the worst of the Strom at slack water, which we knew would 
be at eight. 

" We set out with a fresh wind on our starboard quarter, and for 
some time spanked along at a great rate, never dreaming of danger, 
for indeed we saw not the slightest reason to apprehend it. All at 
once we were taken aback by a breeze from over Helseggen. This 
was most unusual something that had never happened to us before 
and I began to feel a little uneasy, without exactly knowing why. 
We put the boat on the wind, but could make no headway at all 
for the eddies, and I was upon the point of proposing to return to 
the anchorage, when, looking astern, we saw the whole horizon 
covered with a singular copper-coloured cloud that rose with the 
most amazing velocity. 

" In the meantime the breeze that had headed us off fell away, 
and we were dead becalmed, drifting about in every direction. 
This state of things, however, did not last long enough to give us 
time to think about it. In less than a minute the storm was upon 
us in less than two the sky was entirely overcast and what with 
this and the driving spray, it became suddenly so dark that we 
could not see each other in the smack. 

" Such a hurricane as then blew if !s folly to attempt describing. 
The oldest seamen in Norway never experienced any thing like it. 
We had let our sails go by the run before it cleverly took us; but, 
at the first puff, both our masts went by the board as if they had 
been sawed off the mainmast taking with it my youngest brother, 
who had lashed himself to it for safety. 

" Our boat was the lightest feather of a thing that ever sat upon 
water. It had a complete flush deck, with only a small hatch near 
the bow. and this hatch it had always been our custom to batten 
down when about to cross the Strom, byway of precaution against 
the chopping seas. But for this circumstance we should have 
foundered at once for we lay entirely buried for some moments. 
How my elder brother escaped destruction I cannot say, for I never 
had an opportunity of ascertaining. For my part, as soon as I had 
let the foresail run, I threw myself flat on deck, with my feet 
against the narrow gunwhale of the bow, and with my hands grasp 
ing a ring-bolt near the foot of the foremast. It was mere instinct 
that prompted me to do this which was undoubtedly the very best 
thing I could have done for I was too much flurried to think. 



!4 DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM. 165 

" For some moments we were completely deluged, as I say, and 
all this time I held my breath, and clung to the bolt. When I 
could stand it no longer, I raised myself upon my knees, still keep 
ing hold with my hands, and thus got my head clear. Presently 
our little boat gave herself a shake, just as a dog does in coming 
out of the water, and thus rid herself, in some measure, of the seas. 
I was now trying to get the better of the stupor that had come 
over me, and to collect my senses, so as to see what was to be done, 
when I felt somebody grasp my arm. It was my elder brother, and 
niy heart leaped for joy, for I had made sure that he was overboard 
but the next moment all this joy was turned into horror for he 
put his mouth close to my ear, and screamed out the word Moslcoc- 
strom! 

" No one ever will know what my feelings were at that moment. 
I shook from head to foot as if I had the most violent fit of the 
ague. I knew what he meant by that one word well enough I 
knew what he wished to make me understand. With the wind 
that now drove us on, we were bound for the whirl of the Strom, 
and nothing could save us ! 

"You perceive that in crossing the Strom channel, we always 
went a long way up above the whirl, even in the calmest weather, 
and then had to wait and watch carefully for the slack but now 
we were driving right upon the pool itself, and m such a hurricane 
as this ! To be sure, I thought, we shall get there just about the 
slack there is some little hope in that 7 but in the next moment I 
cursed myself for being so great a fool as to dream of hope at all. 
I knew very well that we were doomed, had we been ten times a 
ninety-gun ship. 

" By this time the first fury of the tempest had spent itself, or 
perhaps we did not feel it so much, as we scudded before it, but at 
all events the seas, which at first had been kept down by the wind, 
and lay flat and frothing, now got up into absolute mountains. A 
singular change, too, had come over the heavens. Around in every 
direction it was still as black as pitch, but nearly overhead there 
burst out, all at once, a circular rift of clear sky as clear as I ever 
saw and of a deep bright blue and through it there blazed forth 
the full moon with a lustre that I never before knew her to wear. 
She lit up everything about us with the greatest distinctness but, 
O God, what a scene it was to light up ! 

"I now made one or two attempts to speak to my brother but 



166 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

in some manner which I could not understand, the din had so 
increased that I could not make him hear a single word, although 
I screamed at the top of my voice in his ear. Presently he shook 
his head, looking as pale as death, and held up one of his fingers, 
as if to say listen ! 

"At first I could not make out what he meant but soon a 
hideous thought flashed upon me. I dragged my watch from its 
fob. It was not going. I glanced at its face by the moonlight, and 
then burst into tears as I flung it far away into the ocean. It had 
run down at seven o clock ! We were behind the time of the slack, 
and the ivhirl of the Strom was in full fury ! 

" When a boat is well built, properly trimmed, and ^ot deep 
laden, the waves in a strong gale, when she is going lSflB, seem 
always to slip from beneath her which appears very strange to a 
landsman and this is what is called riding, in sea phrase. 

" Well, so far we had ridden the swells very cleverly; but pre 
sently a gigantic sea happened to take us right under the counter, 
and bore us with it as it rose up up as if into the sky. I would 
not have believed that any wave could rise so high. And then down 
we came with a sweep, a slide, and a plunge, that made me feel 
sick and dizzy, as if I was falling from some lofty mountain-top in 
a dream. But while we were up I had thrown a quick glance 
around and that one glance was all sufficient. I saw our exact 
position in an instant. The Moskoe-strom whirlpool was about a 
quarter of a mile dead ahead but no more like the every-day 
Moskoe-strom, than the whirl as you now see it, is like a mill-race. 
If I had not known where we were, and what we had to expect, I 
should not have recognised the place at all. As it was, I involun 
tarily closed my eyes in horror. The lids clenched themselves 
together as if in a spasm. 

" It could not have been more than two minutes afterwards until 
we suddenly felt the waves subside, and were enveloped in foam. 
The boat made a sharp half turn to larboard, and then shot off in 
its new direction like a thunderbolt. At the same moment the 
roaring noise of the water was completely drowned in a kind of 
shrill shriek such a sound as you might imagine given out by the 
water-pipes of many thousand steam-vessels, letting off their steam 
all together. We were now in the belt of surf that always sur 
rounds the whirl ; and I thought, of course, that another moment 
would plunge us into the abyss down which we could only see 



A DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM. 167 

indistinctly on account of the amazing velocity with which we were 
borne along. The boat did not seem to sink into the water at all, 
but to skim like an air-bubble upon the surface of the surge. Her 
starboard side was next the whirl, and on the larboard arose the 
world of ocean we had left. It stood like a huge writhing wall 
between us and the horizou. 

" It may appear strange, but now, when we were in the very jaws 
of the gulf, I felt more composed than when we were only approach 
ing it. Having made up my mind to hope no more, I got rid of a / 
great deal of that terror which unmanned me at first. I supposed 
it was despair that strung my nerves. 

" It may look like boasting but what I tell you is truth I 
began to reflect how magnificent a thing it was to die in such a 
manner, and how foolish it was in me to think of so paltry a con 
sideration as my own individual life, in view of so wonderful a 
manifestation of God s power. I do believe that I blushed with 
shame when this idea crossed my mind. After a little while I be 
came possessed with the keenest curiosity about the whirl itself. 
I positively felt a ivish to explore its depths, even at the sacrifice I 
was going to make; and my principal grief was that I should never 
be able to tell my old companions on shore about the mysteries I 
should see. These, no doubt, were singular fancies to occupy a 
man s mind in such extremity and I have often thought since, 
that the revolutions of the boat around the pool might have ren 
dered me a little light-headed. 

" There was another circumstance which tended to restore my 
self-possession; and this was the cessation of the wind, which could 
not reach us in our present situation for, as you saw yourself, the 
belt of surf is considerably lower than the general bed of the ocean, 
and this latter now towered above us, a high, black, mountainous 
ridge. If you have never been at sea in a heavy gale, you can form 
no idea of the confusion of mind occasioned by the wind and spray 
together. They blind, deafen, and strangle you, and take away all 
power of action or reflection. But we were now, in a great measure, 
rid of these annoyances just as death-condemned felons in prison 
are allowed petty indulgences, forbidden them while their doom is 
yet uncertain. 

" How often we made the circuit of the belt it is impossible to 
say. We careered round and round for perhaps an hour, flying 
rather than floating, getting gradually more and more into the 



168 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

middle of the surge, and then nearer and nearer to its horrible 
inner edge. All this time I had never let go of the ring-bolt. My 
brother was at the stern, holding on to a small empty water-cask, 
which had been securely lashed under the coop of the counter, and 
was tb,e only thing on deck that had not been swept overboard 
when the gale first took us. As we approached the brink of the 
pit he let go his hold upon this, and made for the ring, from which, 
in the agony of his terror, he endeavoured to force my hands, as it 
was not large enough to afford us both a secure grasp. I never felt 
deeper grief than when I saw him attempt this act although I 
knew he was a madman when he did it a raving maniac through 
sheer fright. I did not care, however, to contest the point 
with him. I knew it could make no difference whether either of 
us held on at all; so 1 let him have the bolt, and went astern to the 
cask. This there was no great difficulty in doing ; for the smack 
flew round steadily enough, and upon an even keel only swaying 
to and fro, with the immense sweeps and swelters of the whirl. 
Scarcely had I secured myself in my new position, when we gave a 
wild lurch to starboard, and rushed headlong into the abyss. 1 
muttered a hurried prayer to God, and thought all was over. 

" As I felt the sickening sweep of the descent, I had instinctively 
tightened my hold upon the barrel, and closed my eyes. For some 
seconds I dared not open them while I expected instant destruc 
tion, and wondered that I was not already in my death-struggles 
with the water. But moment after moment elapsed. I still lived. 
The sense of falling had ceased ; and the motion of the vessel 
seemed much as it had been before, while in the belt of foam, with 
the exception that she now lay more along. I took courage and 
looked once again upon the scene. 

" Never shall I forget the sensations of awe, horror, and admira 
tion with which I gazed about me. The boat appeared to be hang 
ing, as if by magic, midway down, upon the interior surface of a 
funnel, vast in circumference, prodigious in depth, and whose per 
fectly smooth sides might have been mistaken for ebony, but for 
the bewildering rapidity with which they spun around, and for the 
gleaming and ghastly radiance they shot forth, as the rays of the 
full moon, from that circular rift amid the clouds which I have 
already described, streamed in a flood of golden glory along the black 
walls, and far away down into the inmost recesses of the abyss. 

" At first I was too much confused to observe anything accurately. 



A DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM. 169 

The general burst of terrific grandeur was all that I beheld. When 
I recovered myself a little, however, my gaze fell instinctively 
downward. In this direction I was able to obtain an unobstructed 
view, from the manner in which the smack hung on the inclined 
surface of the pool. She was quite upon an even keel that is to 
say, her deck lay in a plane parallel with that of the water but 
this latter sloped at an angle of more than forty-five degrees, so 
that we seemed to be lying upon our beam-ends. I could not help 
observing, nevertheless, that I had scarcely more difficulty in main 
taining my hold and footing in this situation, than if we had been 
upon a deal level ; and this, I suppose, was owing to the speed at 
which we revolved. 

" The rays of the moon seemed to search the very bottom of the 
profound gulf ; but still I could make out nothing distinctly, on 
account of a thick mist in which everything there was enveloped, 
and over which there hung a magnificent rainbow, like that narrow 
and tottering bridge which Mussulmen say is the only pathway 
between Time and Eternity. This mist, or spray, was no doubt 
occasioned by the clashing of the great walls of the funnel, as they 
all met together at the bottom but the yell that went up to the 
heavens from out of that mist, I dare not attempt to describe. 

" Our first slide into the abyss itself, from the belt of foam above, 
had carried us to a great distance down the slope ; but our farther 
descent was by no means proportionate. Round and round we 
swept not with any uniform movement but in dizzying swings 
and jerks, that sent us sometimes only a few hundred yards some 
times nearly the complete circuit of the whirl. Our progress down 
ward, at each revolution, was slow, but very perceptible. 

" Looking about me upon the wide waste of liquid ebony on 
which we were thus borne, I perceived that our boat was not the 
only object in the embrace of the whirl. Both above and below us 
were visible fragments of vessels, large masses of building timber 
and trunks of trees, with many smaller articles, such as pieces of 
house furniture, broken boxes, barrels and staves. I have already 
described the unnatural curiosity which had taken the place of my 
original terrors. It appeared to grow upon me as I drew nearer 
and nearer to my dreadful doom. I now began to watch, with a 
strange interest, the numerous things that floated in 0ur company. 
I must have been delirious for I even sought amusement in specu 
lating upon the relative velocities of their several descents toward 



i jo WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN P0. 

the foam below. This fir tree/ I found myself at one time saying, 
4 will certainly be the next thing that takes the awful plunge and 
disappears, and then I was disappointed to find that the wreck 
of a Dutch merchant ship overtook it and went down before. At 
length, after making several guesses of this nature, and being 
deceived in all this fact the fact of my invariable miscalculation, 
set me upon a train of reflection that made my limbs again tremble, 
and my heart beat heavily once more. 

" It was not a new terror that thus affected me, but the dawn 
of a more exciting hope. This hope arose partly from memory 
and partly from present observation. I called to mind the great 
variety of buoyant matter that strewed the coast of Lofoden, 
having been absorbed and then thrown forth by the Moskoe-strom. 
By far the greater number of the articles were shattered in the 
most extraordinary way so chafed and roughened as to have the 
appearance of being stuck full of splinters but then I distinctly 
recollected that there were some of them which were not disfigured 
at all. Now I could not account for this difference except by 
supposing that the roughened fragments were the only ones which 
had been completely absorbed that the others had entered the 
whirl at so late a period of the tide, or, from some reason, had 
descended so slowly after entering, that they did not reach the 
bottom before the turn of the flood came, or of the ebb as the case 
might be. I conceived it possible, in either instance, that they 
might thus be whirled up again to the level of the ocean, without 
undergoing the fate of those which had been drawn in more early 
or absorbed more rapidly. I made, also, three important observa 
tions. The first was, that as a general rule, the larger the bodies 
were, the more rapid their descent the second, that, between two 
masses of equal extent, the one spherical, and the other of any 
other shape, the superiority in speed of descent was with the 
sphere the third, that, between two masses of equal size, the one 
cylindrical, and the other of any other shape, the cylinder was 
absorbed the more slowly. Since my escape, I have had several 
conversations on this subject with an old schoolmaster of the 
district ; and it was from Mm that I learned the use of the words 
* cylinder and sphere. He explained to me although I have 
forgotten the explanation how what I observed was, in fact, the 
natural consequence of the forms of the floating fragments and 
showed me how it happened that a cylinder, swimming in a vortex 



A DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM. 171 

offered more resistance to its suction, and was drawn in with greater 
difficulty than an equally bulky body of any form whatever.* 

" There was one startling circumstance which went a great way 
in enforcing these observations, and rendering me anxious to turn 
them to account, and this was that, at every revolution, we passed 
something like a barrel, or else the yard or the mast of a vessel, 
while many of these things, which had been on our level when I 
first opened my eyes upon the wonders of the whirlpool, were now 
high up above us, and seemed to have moved but little from their 
original station. 

"I no longer hesitated what to do. I resolved to lash myself 
securely to the water cask upon which I now held, to cut it loose 
from the counter, and to throw myself with it into the water. I 
attracted my brother s attention by signs, pointed to the floating 
barrels that came near us, and did everything in my power to make 
him understand what I was about to do. I thought at length that 
he comprehended my design but whether this was the case or 
not, he shook his head despairingly, and refused to move from his 
station by the ring-bolt. It was impossible to reach him ; the 
emergency admitted of no delay ; and so, with a bitter struggle, I 
resigned him to his fate, fastened myself to the cask by means of 
the lashings which secured it to the counter, and precipitated 
myself with it into the sea, without another moment s hesitation. 

" The result was precisely what I had hoped it might be. As it 
is myself who now tell you this tale as you see that I did escape 
and as you are already in possession of the mode in which this 
escape was effected, and must therefore anticipate all that I have 
farther to say I will bring my story quickly to conclusion. It 
might have been an hour, or thereabout, after my quitting the 
smack, when, having descended to a vast distance beneath me, it 
made three or four wild gyrations in rapid succession, and, bearing 
my loved brother with it, plunged headlong, at once and for ever, 
into the chaos of foam below. The barrel to which I was attached 
sunk very little farther than half the distance between the bottom 
of the gulf and the spot at which I leaped overboard, before a 
great change took place in the character of the whirlpool. The 
slope of the sides of the vast funnel became momentarily less and 
less steep, the gyrations of the whirl grew gradually less and less 

* See Archimedes, "De Incidentibus in Faiido." -lib. 2. 



172 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

violent. By degrees, the froth and the rainbow disappeared, and 
the bottom of the gulf seemed slowly to uprise. The sky was 
clear, the winds had gone down, and the full moon was setting 
radiantly in the west, when I found myself on the surface of the 
ocean, in full view of the shores of Lofoden, and above the spot 
where the pool of the Moskoe-strom had been. It was the hour of 
the slack but the sea still heaved in mountainous waves from the 
effects of the hurricane. I was borne violently into the channel of 
the Strom, and in a few minutes, was hurried down the coast into 
the grounds of the fishermen. A boat picked me up exhausted 
from fatigue and (now that the danger was removed) speechless 
from the memory of its horror. Those who drew me on board 
were my old mates and daily companions but they knew me no 
more than they would have known a traveller from the spirit-land. 
My hair, which had been raven-black the day before, was as white 
as you see it now. They say too that the whole expression of my 
countenance had changed. I told them my story they did not 
believe it. I now tell it to you and I can scarcely expect you to 
put more faith in it than did the merry fishermen of Lofoden." 



THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE, 

"What song the Syrens sang, or what name Achilles assumed when 
he hid himself among women, although puzzling questions, are not be 
yond all conjecture." Sir Thomas Browne. 

HE mental features discoursed of as the analytical, are, in 
themselves, but little susceptible of analysis. We appre 
ciate them only in their effects. We know of them, 
among other things, that they are always to their possessor, when 
inordinately possessed, a source of the liveliest enjoyment. As 
the strong man exults in his physical ability, delighting in such 
exercises as call his muscles into action, so glories the analyst in 
that moral activity which disentangles. He derives pleasure from 
even the most trivial occupations bringing his talent into play. 
He is fond of enigmas, of conundrums, of hieroglyphics ; exhibiting 
in his solutions of each a degree of acumen which appears to the 
ordinary apprehension preternatural. His results, brought about 



THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. 173 

by the very soul and essence of method, have, in truth, the whole 
air of intuition. 

The faculty of re-solution is possibly much invigorated by 
mathematical study, and especially by that highest branch of it 
which, unjustly, and merely on account of its retrograde opera 
tions, has been called, as if par excellence, analysis. Yet to calculate 
is not in itself to analyze. A chess-player, for example, does the 
one, without effort at the other. It follows that the game of chess, 
in its effects upon mental character, is greatly misunderstood. 
I am not now writing a treatise, but simply prefacing a somewhat 
peculiar narrative by observations very much at random ; I will, 
therefore, take occasion to assert that the higher powers of the 
reflective intellect are more decidedly and more usefully tasked by 
the unostentatious game of draughts than by all the elaborate 
frivolity of chess. In this latter, where the pieces have different 
and bizarre motions, with various and variable values, what is 
only complex, is mistaken (a not unusual error) for what is pro 
found. The attention is here called powerfully into play. If it 
flag for an instant, an oversight is committed, resulting in injury or 
defeat. The possible moves being not only manifold, but involute, 
the chances of such oversights are multiplied ; and in nine cases 
out of ten, it is the more concentrative rather than the more acute 
player who conquers. In draughts, on the contrary, where the 
moves are unique and have but little variation, the probabilities 
of inadvertence are diminished, and the mere attention being left 
comparatively unemployed, what advantages are obtained by either 
party are obtained by superior acumen. To be less abstract Let 
us suppose a game of draughts where the pieces are reduced to 
four kings, and where, of course, no oversight is to be expected. It 
is obvious that here the victory can be decided (the players being 
at all equal) only by some recherche movement, the result of some 
strong exertion of the intellect. Deprived of ordinary resources, 
the analyst throws himself into the spirit of his opponent, identifies 
himself therewith, and not unfrequently sees thus, at a glance, the 
sole methods (sometimes indeed absurdly simple ones) by which he 
may seduce into error or hurry into miscalculation. 

Whist has long been noted for its influence upon what is termed 
the calculating power ; and men of the highest order of intellect 
have been known to take an apparently unaccountable delight in 
it, while eschewing chess as frivolous Beyond doubt tiiere is 



174 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

nothing of a similar nature so greatly tasking the faculty of ana 
lysis. The best chess-player in Christendom may belittle more than 
the best player of chess ; but proficiency in whist implies capacity 
for success in all these more important undertakings where mind 
struggles with mind. When I say proficiency, I mean that per 
fection in the game which includes a comprehension of all the 
sources whence legitimate advantage may be derived. These are 
not only manifold, but multiform, and lie frequently among recesses 
of thought altogether inaccessible to the ordinary understanding. 
To observe attentively is to remember distinctly ; and, so far, the 
concentrative chess-player will do very well at whist ; while the 
rules of Hoyle (themselves based upon the mere mechanism of the 
game) are sufficiently and generally comprehensible. Thus to have 
a retentive memory, and to proceed by " the book," are points com 
monly regarded as the sum total of good playing. But it is in 
matters beyond the limits of mere rule that the skill of the analyst 
is evinced. He makes, in silence, a host of observations and infer 
ences. So, perhaps, do his companions ; and the difference in the 
extent of the information obtained, lies not so much in the validity 
of the inference as in the quality of the observation. The necessary 
knowledge is that of ivhat to observe. Our player confines himself 
not at all ; nor, because the game is the object, does he reject 
deductions from things external to the game. He examines the 
countenance of his partner, comparing it carefully with that of each 
of his opponents. He considers the mode of assorting the cards in 
each hand ; often counting trump by trump, and honour by honour, 
through the glances bestowed by their holders upon each. He 
notes every variation of face as the play progresses, gathering a 
fund of thought from the differences in the expression of certainty, 
of surprise, of triumph, or chagrin. From the manner of gathering 
up a trick he judges whether the person taking it can make another 
in the suit. He recognises what is played through feint, by the air 
with which it is thrown upon the table. A casual or inadvertent 
word ; the accidental dropping or turning of a card, with the ac 
companying anxiety or carelessness in regard to its concealment ; 
the counting of the tricks, with the order of their arrangement ; 
embarrassment, hesitation, eagerness or trepidation all afford, to 
his apparently intuitive perception, indications of the true state of 
affairs. The first two or three rounds having been played, he is in 
full possession of the contents of each hand, and thenceforward 



THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. 175 

puts down his cards with as absolute a precision of purpose as if 
the rest of the party had turned outward the faces of their own. 

The analytical power should not be confounded with simple 
ingenuity ; for while the analyst is necessarily ingenious, the 
ingenious man is often remarkably incapable of analysis. The 
constructive or combining power, by which ingenuity is usually 
manifested, and to which the phrenologists (I believe erroneously) 
have assigned a separate organ, supposing it a primitive faculty, 
has been so frequently seen in those whose intellect bordered other 
wise upon idiotcy, as to have attracted general observation among 
writers on morals. Between ingenuity and the analytic ability 
there exists a difference far greater, indeed, than that between the 
fancy and the imagination, but of a character very strictly analo 
gous. It will be found, in fact, that the ingenious are always 
fanciful, and the truly imaginative never otherwise than analytic. 

The narrative which follows will appear to the reader somewhat 
in the light of a commentary upon the propositions just advanced. 

Presiding in Paris during the spring and part of the summer of 
18, I there became acquainted with a Monsieur C. Auguste 
Dupin. This young gentleman was of an excellent indeed of an 
illustrious family, but, by a variety of untoward events, had been 
reduced to such poverty that the energy of his character succumbed 
beneath it, and he ceased to bestir himself in the world, or to care 
for the retrieval of his fortunes. By courtesy of his creditors there 
still remained in his possession a small remnant of his patrimony ; 
and, upon the income arising from this, he managed, by means of 
a rigorous economy, to procure the necessaries of life, without 
troubling himself about its superfluities. Books, indeed, were his 
sole luxuries, and in Paris these are easily obtained. 

Our first meeting was at an obscure library in the Rue Mont- 
martre, where the accident of our both being in search of the same 
very rare and very remarkable volume, brought us into closer 
communion. We saw each other again and again. I was deeply 
interested in the little family history which he detailed to me with 
all that candour which a Frenchman indulges whenever mere self 
is the theme. I was astonished, too, at the vast extent of his 
reading ; and, above all, I felt my soul en kindled within me by the 
wild fervour, and the vivid freshness of his imagination. Seeking 
in Paris the objects I then sought, I felt that the society of such a 
man would be to me a treasure beyond price ; and this feeling I 



176 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

frankly confided to him. It was at length arranged that we should 
live together during my stay in the city ; and as my worldly cir 
cumstances were somewhat less embarrassed than his own, I was 
permitted to be at the expense of renting, and furnishing in a style 
which suited the rather fantastic gloom of our common temper, a 
time-eaten and grotesque mansion, long deserted through super 
stitions into which we did not inquire, and tottering to its fall in 
a retired and desolate portion of the Faubourg St, Germain. 

Had the routine of our life at this place been known to the 
world, we should have been regarded as madmen although, per 
haps, as madmen of a harmless nature. Our seclusion was perfect. 
We admitted no visitors. Indeed the locality of our retirement 
had been carefully kept a secret from my own former associates ; 
and it had been many years since Dupin had ceased to know or be 
known in Paris. We existed within ourselves alone. 

It was a freak of fancy in my friend (for what else shall I call it ?) 
to be enamoured of the night for her own sake ; and into this 
bizarrerie, as into all his others, I quietly fell, giving myself up to his 
wild whims with a perfect abandon. The sable divinity would not 
herself dwell with us always ; but we could counterfeit her presence. 
At the first dawn of the morning we closed all the massy shutters 
of our old building ; lighted a couple of tapers which, strongly per 
fumed, threw out only the ghastliest and feeblest of rays. By the 
aid of these we then busied our souls in dreams reading, writing, 
or conversing, until warned by the clock of the advent of the true 
Darkness. Then we sallied forth into the streets, arm in arm, 
continuing the topics of the day, or roaming far and wide until a 
late hour, seeking, amid the wild lights and shadows of the popu 
lous city, that infinity of mental excitement which quiet observation 
can afford. 

At such times I could not help remarking and admiring (although 
from his rich ideality I had been prepared to expect it) a peculiar 
analytic ability in Dupin. He seemed, too, to take an eager delight 
in its exercise if not exactly in its display and did not hesitate 
to confess the pleasure thus derived. He boasted to me, with a 
low chuckling laugh, that most men, in respect to himself, wore 
windows in their bosoms, and was wont to follow up such asser 
tions by direct and very startling proofs of his intimate knowledge 
of my own. His manner at these moments was frigid and abstract ; 
his eyes were var,aut in expression ; while his voice, usually a rich 



THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. 1^7 

tenor, rose into a treble which would have sounded petulantly but 
for the deliberateness and entire distinctness of the enunciation. 
Observing him in these moods, I often dwelt meditatively upon 
the old philosophy of the Bi-Part Soul, and amused myself with 
the fancy of a double Dupin the creative and the resolvent. 

Let it not be supposed, from what I have just said, that I am 
detailing any mystery, or penning any romance. What I have 
described in the Frenchman, was merely the result of an excited, 
or perhaps of a diseased intelligence. But of the character of his 
remarks at the periods in question an example will best convey 
the idea. 

We were strolling one night down a long dirty street, in the 
vicinity of the Palais Royal. Being both, apparently, occupied 
with thought, neither of us had spoken a syllable for fifteen 
minutes at least. All at once Dupin broke forth with these words: 

" He is a very little fellow, that s true, and would do better for 
the Theatre des Varietes." 

" There can be no doubt of that," I replied unwittingly, and 
not at first observing (so much had I been absorbed in reflection) 
the extraordinary manner in which the speaker had chimed in 
with my meditations. In an instant afterward I recollected myself, 
and my astonishment was profound. 

" Dupin," said I, gravely, " this is beyond my comprehension. 
I do not hesitate to say that I am amazed, and can scarcely credit 
my senses. How was it possible you should know I was thinking 

O f f Here I paused, to ascertain beyond a doubt whether 

he really knew of whom I thought. 

" Of Chantilly," said he, " why do you pause 1 You were re 
marking to yourself that his diminutive figure unfitted him for 
tragedy." 

This was precisely what had formed the subject of my reflections. 
Chantilly was a quondam cobbler of the Rue St. Denis, who, 
becoming stage-mad, had attempted the role of Xerxes, in 
Cre"billon s tragedy so called, and been notoriously pasqumaded 
for his pains. 

"Tell me, for Heaven s sake," I exclaimed, "the method if 
method there is by which you have been enabled to fathom my 
soul in this matter." In fact I was even more startled than I would 
have been willing to express. 

" It was the fruiterer/ replied my i riend, " who brought you to 

12 



i7 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

the conclusion that the mender of soles was not of sufficient height 
for Xerxes et id genus omne." 

" The fruiterer ! you astonish me I know no fruiterer whom 
soever." 

" The man who ran up against you as we entered the street 
it may have been fifteen minutes ago." 

I now remembered that, in fact, a fruiterer, carrying upon his 
head a large basket of apples, had nearly thrown me down, by 

accident, as we passed from the Rue C into the thoroughfare 

where we stood ; but what this had to do with Chantilly I could 
not possibly understand. 

There was not a particle of charlatanerie about Dupin. " I 
will explain," he said, " and that you may comprehend all clearly, 
we will first retrace the course of your meditations, from the 
moment in which I spoke to you until that of the rencontre with 
the fruiterer in question. The larger links of the chain run thus 
Chantilly, Orion, Dr. Nichols, Epicurus, Stereotomy, the street 
stones, the fruiterer." 

There are few persons who have not, at some period of their 
lives, amused themselves in retracing the steps by which particular 
conclusions of their own minds have been attained. The occupa 
tion is often full of interest ; and he who attempts it for the first 
time is astonished by the apparently illimitable distance and inco 
herence between the starting-point and the goal. What, then, 
must have been my amazement when I heard the Frenchman speak 
what he had just spoken, and when I could not help acknowledg 
ing that he had spoken the truth. He continued : 

"We had been talking of horses, if I remember aright, just 

before leaving the Rue C . This was the last subject we 

discussed. As we crossed into the street, a fruiterer, with a large 
basket upon his head, brushing quickly past us, thrust you upon a 
pile of paving-stones collected at a spot where the causeway is 
undergoing repair. You stepped upon one of the loose fragments, 
slipped, slightly strained your ankle, appeared vexed or sulky, 
muttered a few words, turned to look at the pile, and then pro 
ceeded in silence. I was not particularly attentive to what you 
did ; but observation has become with me, of late, a species of 
necessity. 

" You kept your eyes upon the ground glancing, with a petu 
lant expression, at the holes and ruts in the pavement, (so that I 



THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. 179 

saw you were still thinking of the stones,) until we reached the 
little alley called Lamartine, which has been paved, by way of 
experiment, with the overlapping and riveted blocks. Here your 
countenance brightened up, and, perceiving your lips move, I 
could not doubt that you murmured the word stereotomy/ a 
term very affectedly applied to this species of pavement. I knew 
that you could not say to yourself stereotomy without being 
brought to think of atomies, and thus of the theories of Epicurus \ 
and since, when we discussed this subject not very long ago> I 
mentioned to you how singularly, yet with how little notice, the 
vague guesses of that noble Greek had met with confirmation in 
the late nebular cosmogony, I felt that you could not avoid casting 
your eyes upward to the great nebula in Orion, and I certainly ex 
pected that you would do so. You did look up ; and I was now 
assured that I had correctly followed your steps. But in that 
bitter tirade upon Chantilly, which appeared in yesterday s 
Musee, the satirist, making some disgraceful allusions to the 
cobbler s change of name upon assuming the buskin, quoted a 
Latin line about which we have often conversed. I mean the line 

Perdidit antiquum litera prirna sonum 

I had told you that this wasin^reference to Orion, formerly written 
Urion ; and, from certain ^nmgeiteiefc connected with this explana 
tion, I was aware that you could not have forgotten it. It was 
clear, therefore, that you would not fail to combine the two ideas 
of Orion and Chantilly. That you did combine them I saw by the 
character of the smile which passed over your lips. You thought 
of the poor cobbler s fhninolati&n. So far, you had been stooping 
in your gait ; but now~T"saw you draw yourself up to your full 
height. I was then sure that you reflected upon the diminutive 
figure of Chantilly. At this point I interrupted your meditations 
to remark that as, in fact, he ivas a very little fellow, that Chan 
tilly, he would do better at the Theatre des Varie te s." 

Not long after this, we were looking over an evening edition of 
the Gazette des Trilunaux when the following paragraphs arrested 
our attention : 

" EXTRAORDINARY MURDERS. This morning, about three 
o clock, the inhabitants of the Quartier St. Koch were aroused 
from sleep by a succession of terrific shrieks, issuing, apparently, 
from the fourth story of a house in the Rue Morgue, known to be 
in the sole occupancy of one Madame L Espanaye, and her daughter, 

122 



jSo WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

Mademoiselle Camille L Espanaye. After some delay, occasioned 
by a fruitless attempt to procure admission in the usual manner, 
the gateway was broken in with a crowbar, jiipj^ight or ten of the 
neighbours entered, accompaned by two gendarme*. By this time 
the cries had ceased ; but, as the party rush~e"d"up the first flight of 
stairs, two or more rough voices, in angry contention, were dis 
tinguished, and seemed to proceed from the upper part of the house. 
As the second landing was reached, these sounds, also, had ceased, 
and everything remained perfectly quiet. The party spread them 
selves, and hurried from room to room. Upon arriving at a large 
back chamber in the fourth story, (the door of which, being found 
locked, with the key inside, was forced open,) a spectacle presented 
itself which struck every one present not less with horror than 
with astonishment. 

"The apartment was in the wildest disorder the furniture 
broken and thrown about in all directions. There was only one 
bedstead ; and from this the bed had been removed, and thrown 
into the middle of the floor. On a chair lay a razor, besmeared 
with blood. On the hearth were two or three long and thick tresses 
of grey human hair, also dabbled in blood, and seeming to have 
been pulled out by the roots. Upon the floor were found four 
Napoleons, an ear-ring of topaz, three large silver spoons, three 
smaller of metal d Alger, and two bags, containing nearly four 
thousand francs in gold. The drawers of a bureau, which stood in 
one corner, were open, and had been, apparently, rifled, although 
many articles still remained in them. A small iron safe was dis 
covered under the bed (not under the bedstead). It was open, with 
the key still in the door. Tt had no contents beyond a few old 
letters, and other papers of little consequence. 

" Of Madame L Espanaye no traces were here seen ; but an 
unusual quantity of soot being observed in the fire-place, a search 
was made in the chimney, and (horrible to relate !) the corpse of 
the daughter, head downward, was draggad^herefrom ; it having 
been thus forced up the narrowx^apertujpe for a considerable 
distance. The body was quite warnir^tJpon examining it, many 
excoriations were perceived, no doubt occasioned by the violence 
with which it had been thrust up and disengaged. Upon the face 
were many severe scratches, and, upon the throat, dark bruises, 
and deep indentations of finger nails, as if the deceased had been 
throttled to death. 

"After a thorough investigation of every portion of the house, 



THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE, 181 

without farther discovery, the party made its way into a small 
paved yard in the rear of the building, where lay the corpse of 
the old lady, with her throat so entirely cut that, upon an attempt 
to raise her, the head fell off. The body, as well as the head, was 
fearfully mutilated the former so much so as scarcely to retain 
any semblance of humanity. 

" To this horrible mystery there is not as yet, we believe, the 
slightest clew." 

The next day s paper had these additional particulars : 

" THE TRAGEDY IN THE RUE MORGUE. Many individuals have 
been examined in relation to this most extraordinary and frightful 
affair," [the word affaire has not yet in France that l<feyit^>bf 
import which it conveys with us,] "but nothing whatever has 
transpired to throw light upon it. We give below all the material 
testimony elicited. 

" Pauline Dubourg, laundress, deposes that she has known 
both the deceased for three years, having washed for them during 
that period. The old lady and her daughter seemed on good 
terms very affectionate towards each other. They were excellent 
pay. Could not speak in regard to their mode or means of living. 
Believed that Madame L. told fortunes for a living. Was rej5utM 
to have money put by. Never met any persons in the house when 
she called for the clothes or took them home. Was sure that they 
had no servant in employ. There appeared to be no furniture in 
any part of the building, except in the fourth story. 

" Pierre Horeau, tobacconist, deposes that he has been in the 
habit of selling small quantities of tobacco and snuff to Madame 
L Espanaye for nearly four years. Was born in the neighbour 
hood, and has always resided there. The deceased and her 
daughter had occupied the house in which the corpses were found 
for m<y:e than six years. It was formerly occupied by a jeweller, 
who under-let the upper rooms to various persons. The house 
was the property of Madame L. She became dissatisfied with 
the abuse of the premises by her tenant, and moved into them 
herself, refusing to let any portion. The old lady was childish. 
Witness had seen the daughter some five or six times during the 
six years. The two lived an exceedingly retired life were reputed 
to have money. Had heard it said among the neighbours that 
Madame L. told fortunes did not believe it. Had never seen 
any person enter the door except the old lady and her daughter, a 
porter once or twice, and a physician some eight or ten times. 



i8? WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

"Many other persons, neighbours, gave evidence to the same 
effect. No one was spoken of as frequenting the house. It was 
not known whether there were any living connections of Madame 
L. and her daughter. The shutters of the front windows were 
seldom opened. Those in the rear were always closed, with the 
exception of the large back room, fourth story. The house was 
a good house not very old. 

"Isidore Muste, gendarme, deposes that he was called to the 
house about three o clock in the morning, and found some twenty 
or thirty persons at the gateway, endeavouring to gain admittance. 
Forced it open, at length, with a bayonet not with a crowbar. 
Had but little difficulty in getting it open, on account of its being 
a double or folding gate, and bolted neither at bottom nor top. 
The shrieks were continued until the gate was forced and then 
suddenly ceased. They seemed to be screams of some person 
(or persons) in great agony were loud and drawn out, not short 
and quick. Witness led the way up stairs. Upon reaching the 
first landing, heard two voices in loud and angry contention the 
one a gruff voice, the other much shriller a very strange voice. 
Could distinguish some words of the former, which was that of a 
Frenchman. Was positive that it was not a woman s voice. 
Could distinguish the words sacre and didble. The shrill voice 
was that of a foreigner. Could not be sure whether it was the 
voice of a man or of a woman. Could not make out what was 
said, but believed the language to be Spanish. The state of the 
room and of the bodies was described by this witness as we 
described them yesterday. 

" Henri Duval, a neighbour, and by trade a silver-smith, deposes 
that he was one of the party who first entered the house. Corro 
borates the testimony of Muset in general. As soon as they forced 
an entrance, they reclosed the door, to keep out the crowd, which 
collected very fast, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour. The 
shrill voice, this witness thinks, was that of an Italian. Was 
cert s in it was not French. Could not be sure that it was a man s 
voice. It might have been a woman s. Was not acquainted with 
the Italian language. Could not distinguish the words, but was 
convinced by the intonation- that the speaker was an Italian. 
Knew Madame L. and: her daughter. Had conversed with both 
frequently. Was sure that the shrill voice was not that of either 
of the deceased, 



THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. 183 

" Odenheimer, restaurateur. This witness volunteered his 

testimony. Not speaking French, was examined through an inter 
preter. Is a native of Amsterdam. Was passing the house at the 
time of the shrieks. They lasted for several minutes probably 
ten. They were long and loud very awful and distressing. 
Was one of those who entered the building. Corroborated the 
previous evidence in every respect but one. Was sure that the 
shrill voice was that of a man of a Frenchman. Could not dis 
tinguish the words uttered. They were loud and quick unequal 
spoken apparently in fear as well as in anger. The voice was 
harsh not so much shrill as harsh. Could not call it a shrill 
voice. The gruff voice said repeatedly sacrej diable and once 
mon Dieu. 

" Jules Mirjnaud, banker, of the firm of Mignaud et Fils, Rue 
Deloraine. Is the elder Mignaud. Madame L Espanaye had some 
property. Had opened an account with his banking house in the 

spring of the year (eight years previously). Made frequent 

deposits in small sums. Had checked for nothing until the third 
day before her death, when she took out in person the sum of 
4,000 francs. This sum was paid in gold, and a clerk sent home 
with the money. 

" Adolplie Le Bon, clerk to Mignaud et Fils, deposes that on the 
clay in question, about noon, he accompanied Madame L Espanaye 
to her residence with the 4,000 francs put up in two bags. Upon 
the door being opened, Mademoiselle L. appeared and took from 
his hands one of the bags, while the old lady relieved him of the 
other. He then bowed and departed. Did not see any person in 
the street at the time. It is a by-street very lonely. 

William JSird, tailor, deposes that he was one of the party 
who entered the house. Is an Englishman. Has lived in Paris 
two years. Was one of the first to ascend the stairs. Heard the 
voices in contention. The gruff voice was that of a Frenchman. 
Could make out several words, but cannot now remember all 
Heard distinctly * sacre 1 and l mon Dieu. There was a sound at 
the moment as if of several persons struggling a scraping and 
scuffling sound. The shrill voice was very loud louder than the 
gruff one. Is sure that it was not the voice of an Englishman. 
Appeared to be that of a German. Might have been a woman s 
voice. Does not understand German. 

" Four of the above-named witnesses, being recalled, deposed 



j 84 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

that the door of the chamber in which was found the body of 
Mademoiselle L. was locked on the inside when the party reached 
it. Everything was perfectly silent no groans or noises of any 
kind. Upon forcing the door no person was seen. The windows, 
both of the back and front room, were down and firmly fastened 
from within. A door between the two rooms was closed, but not 
locked. The door leading from the front room into the passage 
was locked, with the key on the inside. A small room in the front 
of the house, on the fourth story, at the head of the passage, was 
open, the door being ajar. This room was crowded with old beds, 
boxes, and so forth. These were carefully removed and searched. 
There was not an inch of any portion of the house which was not 
carefully searched. Sweeps were sent upand down the chimneys. 
The house was a four story one, with ganjfe& (mansardes), A trap 
door on the roof was nailed clown very" securely did not appear to 
have been opened for years. The time elapsing between the hearing 
of the voices in contention and the breaking open of the room door, 
was variously stated by the witnesses. Some made it as short as 
three minutes -some as long as five. The door was opened with 
difficulty. 

"Alfonso Garcia, undertaker, deposes that he resides in the Rue 
Morgue. Is a native of Spain. Was one of the party who entered the 
house. Did not proceed up stairs. Is nervous, and was apprehensive 
of the consequences of agitation. Heard the voices in contention. 
The gruff voice was that of a Frenchman. Could not distinguish 
what was said. The shrill voice was that of an Englishman is 
sure of this. Does not understand the English language, but judges 
by the intonation. 

"Alberto Montani, confectioner, deposes that he was among the 
first to ascend the stairs. Heard the voices in question. The gruff 
voice was that of a Frenchman. Distinguished several words. The 
speaker appeared to be,;expostulatJHg^ Could not make out the 
words of the shrill voice. Spoke quick and unevenly. Thinks it 
the voice of a Hussian. Corroborates the general testimony, is an 
Italian. Never conversed with a native of Russia. 

" Several witnesses, recalled, here testified that the chimneys of 
all the rooms on the fourth story were too narrow to admit the 
passage of a human being. By sweeps were meant cylindrical 
sweeping-brushes, such as are employed by those who clean chim 
neys, These brushes were passed up and clown every fluie in the 



THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. 185 

house. There is no back passage by which anyone could have de 
scended while the party proceeded up stairs. The body of Made 
moiselle L Espanaye was so firmly wedged in the chimney that it 
could not be got down until four or five of the party united their 
strength. 

" Paul Dumas, physician, deposes that he was called to view the 
bodies about daybreak. They were both then lying on the sacking 
of the bedstead in the chamber where Mademoiselle L. was found. 
The corpse of the young lady was much bruised and 
The fact that it had been thrust up the chimney would 
account for these appearances. The throat was greatly 
There were several deep scratches just below the chin, together 
with a series of livid spots which were evidently the impression of 
fingers. The face was fearfully discoloured, and the eye-balls pro 
truded. The tongue had been partially bitten through. A large 
bruise was discovered upon the pit of the stomach, produced, 
apparently, by the pressure of a knee. In the opinion of M. Dumas, 
Mademoiselle L Espanaye had been throttled to death by some per 
son or persons unknown. The corpse of the mother was horribly 
mutilated. All the bones of the right leg and arm were more or 
less shattered. The left tibia much splintered, as well as all the 
ribs of the left side. Whole body dreadfully bruised and dis 
coloured. It was not possible to say how the injuries had been in 
flicted. A heavy club of wood, or a broad bar of iron a chair 
any large, heavy, and obtuse weapon would have produced such 
results, if wielded by the hands of a very powerful man. N o woman 
could have inflicted the blows with any weapon. The head of the 
deceased, when seen by witness, was entirely separated from the 
body, and was also greatly shattered. The throat had evidently 
been cut with some very sharp instrument probably with a razor. 

" Alexandre Etienne, surgeon, was called with M. Dumas, to 
view the bodies. Corroborated the testimony, and the opinions of 
M. Dumas. 

" Nothing farther of importance was elicited, although several 
other persons were examined. A murder so mysterious, and so 
perplexing in all its particulars, was never before committed in 
Paris if indeed a murder has been committed at all. The police 
are entirely at fault an unusual occurrence in affairs of this nature. 
There is not, however, the shadow of a clew apparent." 

The evening edition of the paper stated that the greatest excite- 



1 86 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

ment still continued in the Quartier St. Boohthat the premises 
in question had been carefully re-searched, and fresh examinations 
of witnesses instituted, but all to no purpose. A postscript, how 
ever, mentioned that Adolphe Le Bon had been arrested and im 
prisonedalthough nothing appeared to criminate him, beyond the 
facts already detailed. 

Dupin seemed singularly interested in the progress of this affair 
at least so I judged from his manner, for he made no comments. 
It was only after the announcement that Le Bon had been impri 
soned, that he asked me my opinion respecting the murders. 

I could merely agree with all Paris in considering them an in 
soluble mystery. I saw no means by which it would be possible to 
trace the murderer. 

" We must not judge of the means," said Dupin, " by_this shell 
of an examination. The Parisian police, so much^xtonSl for 
acumen, are cunning, but no more. There is no methodr-in their 
proceedings, beyond the method of the moment. They make a vast 
parade of measures; but, not unfrequently, these are so ill adapted 
to the objects proposed, as to put us in mind of Monsieur Jourdain s 
calling for his robe-de-chambre pour mieux entendre la musique. 
The results attained by them are not unfrequently surprising, but, 
for the most part, are brought about by simple diligence and 
activity. When these qualities are unavailing, their schemes fail. 
Vidocq, for example, was a good guesser, and a persevering man. 
But, without educated thought, he erred continually by the very 
intensity of his investigations. He impaired his vision by holding 
the object too close. He might see, perhaps, one or two points 
with unusual clearness, but in so doing, he, necessarily, lost sight 
of the matter as a whole. Thus there is such a thing as being too 
profound. Truth is not always in a well. In fact, as regards the 
more important knowledge, I do believe that she is invariably 
superficial. The depth lies in the valleys where we seek her, and 
not upon the mountain-top where she is found. The modes and 
sources of this kind of error are well typified in the contemplation 
of the heavenly bodies. To look at a star by glances to view it in 
a side-long way, by turning toward it the exterior portions of the 
retina (more susceptible of feeble impressions of light than the 
interior), is to behold the star distinctly is to have the best ap 
preciation of its lustre a lustre which grows dim just in proportion 
as we turn our vision fully upon it. A greater number of rays 



THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. 187 

actually fall upon the eye in the latter case, but, in the former, 
there is the more refined capacity for comprehension. By undue 
profundity we perplex and enfeeble thought ; and it is possible to 
make even Venus herself vanish from the firmament by a scrutiny 
too sustained, too concentrated, or too direct.- 

" As for these murders, let us enter into some examinations for 
ourselves, before we make up an opinion respecting them. An 
inquiry will afford us amusement," [I thought this an odd term, so 
applied, but said nothing] " and, besides, Le Bon once rendered 
me a service for which I am not ungrateful. We will go and see the 

premises with our own eyes. I know G , the Prefect of Police, 

and shall have no difficulty in obtaining the necessary permission." 

The permission was obtained, and we proceeded at once to the 
Hue Morgue. This is one of those miserable thoroughfares which 
intervene between the Rue Richelieu and the Rue St. Roch. It 
was late in the afternoon when we reached it ; as this quarter is at 
a great distance from that in which we resided. The house was 
readily found ; for there were still many persons gazing up at the 
closed shutters, with an objectless curiosity, from the opposite side 
of the way. It was an ordinary Parisian house, with a gateway, on 
one side of which was a glazed watch-box, with a sliding panel in 
the window, indicating a loge de concierge. Before going in we 
walked up the street, turned down an alley, and then, again turning, 
passed in the rear of the building Dupin, meanwhile, examining 
the whole neighbourhood, as well as the house, with a minuteness 
of attention for which I could see no possible object. 

Retracing our steps, we came again to the front of the dwelling, 
rang, and having shown our credentials, were admitted by the 
agents in charge. We went up stairs into the chamber where the 
body of Mademoiselle L Espanaye had been found, and where both 
the deceased still lay. The disorders of the room had, as usual 
been suffered to exist. I saw nothing beyond what had been stated 
in the Gazette des Tribunaux. Dupin . scrutinized everything 
not excepting the bodies of the victims. We then went into the 
other rooms, and into the yard; a gendarme accompanying us 
throughout. The examination occupied us until dark, when we 
took our departure. On our way home my companion stepped in 
for a moment at the office of one of the daily papers. 

I have said that the whims of my friend were manifold, and that 
Je les menayais ;^~f or this phrase there is no English equivalent 



1 88 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

It was his humour, now, to decline all conversation on the subject 
of the murder, until about noon the next day. He then asked me, 
suddenly, if I had observed anything peculiar at the scene of the 
atrocity. 

There was something in his manner of emphasizing the word 
"peculiar," which caused me to shudder, without knowing why. 

" No, nothing peculiar? I said ; " nothing more, at least, than 
we both saw stated in the paper." 

" The Gazette" he replied, " has not entered, I fear, into the 
unusual horror of the thing. But dismiss the idle opinions of this 
print. It appears to me that this mystery is considered ^soluBleV) 
for the very reason which should cause it to be regarded as eaSyof 
solution I mean for the outre character of its features. The police 
are confounded by the seeming absence of motive not for the 
murder itself but for the atrocity of the murder. They are puz 
zled, too, by the seeming impossibility of reconciling the voices 
heard in contention, with the facts that no one was discovered 
upstairs but the assassinated Mademoiselle L Espanaye, and that 
there were no means of egress without the notice of the party 
ascending. The wild disorder of the room ; the corpse thrust, with 
the head downward, up the chimney ; the frightful mutilation of 
the body of the old lady ; these considerations, with those just 
mentioned, and others which I need not mention, have sufficed to 
paralyze the powers, by putting completely at fault the boasted 
acumen of the government agents. They have fallen into 
but common error of confounding the unusual with the 
But it is by these deviations from the plane of the ordinary, Hiat 
reason feels its way, if at all, in its search for the true. In investi 
gations such as we are now pursuing, it should not be so much 
asked what has occurred f as what has occurred that has never 
occurred before V In fact, the facility with which I shall arrive, or 
have arrived, at the solution of this mystery, is in the direct ratio 
of its apparent insolubility in the eyes of the police." 

I stared at the speaker in mute astonishment. 

" I am now awaiting," continued he, looking toward the door of 
our apartment" I am now awaiting a person who, although per 
haps not the perpetrator of these butcheries, must have been in 
some measure implicated in their perpetration. Of the worst 
portion of the crimes committed, it is probable that he is innocent. 
I hope that I am right in this supposition ; for upon it I build my 



THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. i&) 

expectation of reading the entire riddle. I look for the man here 
in this room every moment. It is true that he may not arrive ; 
but the probability is that he will. Should he come, it will be 
necessary to detain him. Here are pistols ; and we both know 
how to use them when occasion demands their use." 

I took the pistols, scarcely knowing what I did, or believing what 
I heard, while Dupin went on, very much as if in a s^likxquyr^ I 
have already spoken of his abstract manner at such times. His 
discourse was addressed to myself ; but his voice, although by no 
means loud, had that intonation which is commonly employed in 
speaking to some one at a great distance. His eyes, vacant in ex 
pression, regarded only the wall. 

" That the voices heard in contention," he said, " by the party 
upon the stairs, were not the voices of the women themselves, was 
fully proved by the evidence. This relieves us of all doubt upon 
the question whether the old lady could have first destroyed the 
daughter, and afterward have committed suicide. I speak of this 
point chiefly for the sake of method ; for the strength of Madame 
L Espanaye would have been utterly unequal to the task of thrust 
ing her daughter s corpse up the chimney as it was found ; and the 
nature of the wounds upon her own person entirely preclude the 
idea of self-destruction. Murder, then, has been committed by 
some third party ; and the voices of this third party were those 
heard in contention. Let me now advert not to the whole testi 
mony respecting these voices but to what was peculiar in that 
testimony. Did you observe anything peculiar about it V 

I remarked that, while all the witnesses agreed in supposing the 
gruff voice to be that of a Frenchman, there was much disagree 
ment in regard to the shrill, or, as one individual termed it, the 
harsh voice. 

" That was the evidence itself," said Dupin, " but it was not the 
peculiarity of the evidence. You have observed nothing distinc 
tive. Yet there ivas something to be observed. The witnesses, as 
you remark, agreed about the gruff voice ; they were here unani 
mous. But in regard to the shrill voice, the peculiarity is not 
that they disagreed but that, while an Italian, an Englishman, a 
Spaniard, a Hollander, and a Frenchman attempted to describe it, 
each one spoke of it as that of a f&rpgfier. Each is sure that it 
was not the voice of one of his own countrymen. Each likens it 
not to the voice of an individual of any nation with whose language 



190 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

lie is conversant but the converse. The Frenchman supposes it 
the voice of a Spaniard, and might have distinguished some words 
had lie been acquainted ivith the Spanish. The Dutchman main 
tains it to have been that of a Frenchman ; but we find it stated 
that not understanding French this ivitness ivas examined through 
an interpreter! The Englishman thinks it the voice of a Ger 
man, and does not understand German! The Spaniard is 
sure that it was that of an Englishman, but judges by the intona 
tion altogether, as he has no knowledge of the English! The Italian 
believes it the voice of a Russian, but has never conversed with a 
native of Russia! A second Frenchman differs, moreover, with the 
first, and is positive that the voice was that of an Italian ; but, not 
being cognizant of that tongue, is, like the Spaniard, convinced by 
the intonation. Now. how strangely unusual must that voice have 
really been, about which such testimony as this could have been 
elicited! in whose tones, even, denizens of the five great divisions 
of Europe could recognise nothing familiar ! You will say that it 
might have been the voice of an Asiatic of an African. Neither 
Asiatics nor Africans abound in Paris ; but, without denying the 
inference, I will now merely call your attention to three points. 
The voice is termed by one witness harsh rather than shrill. It 
is represented by two others to have been quick and unequal! No 
words no sounds resembling words were by any witness men 
tioned as distinguishable. 

"I know not," continued Dupin, "what impression I may have 
made, so far, upon your own understanding ; but I do not hesitate 
to say that legitimate deductions even from this portion of the tes 
timony the portion respecting the gruff and shrill voices are in 
themselves sufficient to engender a suspicion which should give 
direction to all farther progress in the investigation of the mystery. 
I said legitimate deductions ; but my meaning is not thus fully 
expressed. I designed to imply that the deductions are the sole 
proper ones, and that the suspicion arises inevitably from them as 
the single result. What the suspicion is, however, I will not say 
just yet. I merely wish you to bear in mind that, with myself, it 
was sufficiently forcible to give a definite form a certain tendency 
to my inquiries in the chamber. 

"Let us now transport ourselves, in fancy, to this chamber. 
What shall we first seek here 1 The means of egress employed by 
the murderers. It is not too much to say that neither of us believe 



THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. 191 

in preternatural events. Madame and Mademoiselle L Espanaye 
were not destroyed by spirits. The doers of the deed were material, 
and escaped materially. Then how? Fortunately, there is but one 
mode of reasoning upon the point, and that mode must lead us to a 
definite decision. Let us examine, each by each, the possible means 
of egress. It is clear that the assassins were in the room where 
Mademoiselle L Espanaye was found, or at least in the room adjoin 
ing, when the party ascended the stairs. It is then only from these 
two apartments that we have to seek issues. The police have laid 
bare the floors, the ceilings, and the masonry of the walls, in every 
direction. No secret issues could have escaped their vigilance. 
But, not trusting to their eyes, I examined with my own. There 
were, then, no secret issues. Both doors leading from the rooms 
into the passage were securely locked, with the keys inside. Let 
us turn to the chimneys. These, although of ordinary width for 
some eight or ten feet above the hearths, will not admit, through 
out their extent, the body of a large cat. The impossibility of 
egress, by means already stated, being thus absolute, we are reduced 
to the windows. Through those of the front room no one could 
have escaped without notice from the crowd in the street. The 
murderers must have passed, then, through those of the back room. 
Now, brought to this conclusion in so unequivocal a manner as 
we are, it is not our part, as reasoners, to reject it on account of 
apparent impossibilities. It is only left for us to prove that these 
apparent impossibilities are, in reality, not such. 

" There are two windows in the chamber. One of them is unob 
structed by furniture, and is wholly visible. The lower portion of 
the other is hidden from view by the head of the unwieldy bedstead 
which is thrust close up against it. The former was found securely 
fastened from within. It resisted the utmost force of those who 
endeavoured to raise it. A large gimlet hole had been pierced in 
its frame to the left, and a very stout nail was found fitted therein, 
nearly to the head. Upon examining the other window, a similar 
nail was seen similarly fitted in it ; and a vigorous attempt to raise 
this sash, failed also. The police were now entirely satisfied that 
egress had not been in these directions. And, therefore, it was 
thought a matter of supererogation to withdraw the nails and open 
the windows. 

" My own examination was somewhat more particular, and was 
so for the reason I have just given because here it was, I knew, 



1 92 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

that all apparent impossibilities must be proved to be not such in 
reality. 

"I proceeded to think thus & posteriori. The murderers did 
escape from one of these windows. This being so, they could not 
have re-fastened the sashes from the inside, as they were found 
fastened ; the consideration which put a stop, through its obvious 
ness, to the scrutiny of the police in this quarter. Yet the sashes 
were fastened. They must, then, have the power of fastening them 
selves. There was no escape from this conclusion. I stepped to 
the unobstructed casement, withdrew the nail with some difficulty, 
and attempted to raise the sash. It resisted all my efforts, as I had 
anticipated. A concealed spring must, I now knew, exist ; and 
this corroboration of my idea convinced me that my premises, at 
least, were correct, however mysterious still appeared the circum 
stances attending the nails. A careful search soon brought to light 
the hidden spring. I pressed it, and, satisfied with the discovery, 
forebore to upraise the sash. 

" I now replaced the nail and regarded it attentively. A person 
passing out through this window might have reclosed it, and the 
spring would have caught but the nail could not have been re 
placed. The conclusion was plain, and again narrowed in the field 
of my investigations. The assassins must have escaped through the 
other window. Supposing, then, the springs upon each sash to be 
the same, as was probable, there must be found a difference between 
the nails, or at least between the modes of their fixture. Getting 
upon the sacking of the bedstead, I looked over the head-board 
minutely at the second casement. Passing my hand down behind 
the board, I readily discovered and pressed the spring, which was, 
as I had supposed, identical in character with its neighbour. I now 
looked at the nail. It was as stout as the other, and apparently 
fitted in the same manner driven in nearly up to the head. 

" You will say tbat I was puzzled ; but, if you think so, you 
must have misunderstood the nature of the inductions. To use a 
sporting phrase, I had not been once at fault. The scent had never 
for an instant been lost. There was no flaw in any link of the 
chain. I had traced the secret to its ultimate result, and that 
result was the nail. It had, I say, in every respect, the appearance 
o^its fellow in the other window ; but this fact was an absolute 
nmjity (conclusive as it might seem to be) when compared with 
tho consideration that here, at this point, terminated the clew; 



THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. 193 

* There must be something wrong, I said, about the nail. I 
touched it ; and the head, with about a quarter of an inch of the 
shank, came off in my fingers. The rest of the shank was in the 
gimlet-hole, where it had been broken off. The fracture was an 
old one (for its edges were incrusted with rust), and had apparently 
been accomplished by the blow of a hammer, which had partially 
imbedded, in the top of the bottom sash, the head portion of the 
nail. I now carefully replaced this head portion in the indenta 
tion whence I had taken it, and the resemblance to a perfect nail 
was complete the fissure was invisible. Pressing the spring, I 
gently raised the sash for a few inches ; the head went up with it, 
remaining firm in its bed. I closed the window, and the semblance 
of the whole nail was again perfect. 

" The riddle, so far, was now unriddled. The assassin had escaped 
through the window which looked upon the bed. Dropping of its 
own accord upon his exit (or perhaps purposely closed), it had be 
come fastened by the spring ; and it was the retention of this spring 
which had been mistaken by the police for that of the nail, farther 
inquiry being thus considered unnecessary. 

" The next question is that of the mode of descent. Upon this 
point I had been satisfied in my walk with you around the building. 
About five feet and a half from the casement in question there runs 
a lightning-rod. From this rod it would have been impossible for 
any one to reach the window itself, to say nothing of entering it. 
I observed, however, that the shutters of the fourth story were of 
the peculiar kind called by Parisian carpenters ferrades a kind 
rarely employed at the present day, but frequently seen upon very 
old mansions at Lyons and Bordeaux. They are in the form of 
an ordinary door (a single, not a folding door), except that the 
lower half is latticed or worked in open trellis thus affording an 
excellent hold for the hands. In the present instance these shutters 
are fully three feet and a half broad. When we saw them from 
the rear of the house, they were both about half open that is to 
say, they stood off at right angles from the wall. It is probable 
that the police, as well as myself, examined the back of the tenement^ 
but, if so, in looking at these ferrades in the line of their breadth 
(as they must have done), they did not perceive this great breadth 
itself, or, at all events, failed to take it into due consideration. In 
fact, having once satisfied themselves that no egress could have 
been made in this quarter, they would naturally bestow here a very 

13 



I94 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

cursory examination. It was clear to me, however, that the shutter 
belonging to the window at the head of the bed, would, if swung 
fully back to the wall, reach to within two feet of the lightning-rod. 
It was also evident that, by exertion of a very unusual degree of 
activity and courage, an entrance into the window, from the rod, 
might have been thus effected. By reaching to the distance of two 
feet and a half (we now suppose the shutter open to its whole 
extent (a robber might have taken a firm grasp upon the trellis- 
work. Letting go, then, his hold upon the rod, placing his feet 
securely against the wall, and springing boldly from it, he might 
have swung the shutter so as to close it, and, if we imagine the 
window open at the time, might even have swung himself into the 
room. 

" I wish you to bear especially in mind that I have spoken of a 
very unusual degree of activity as requisite to success in so 
hazardous and so difficult a feat. It is my design to show you, 
first, that the thing might possibly have been accomplished : but, 
secondly and chiefly, I wish to impress upon your understanding 
the very extraordinary \^Q almost preternatural character of 
that agility which could have accomplished it. 

" You will say, no doubt, using the language of the law, that * to 
make out my case, I should rather undervalue, than insist upon a 
full estimation of the activity required in this matter. This may 
be the practice in law, but it is not the usage of reason. My ulti 
mate object is only the truth. My immediate purpose is to lead 
you to place in juxta-position, that very unusual activity of which 
I have just spoken, with that very peculiar shrill (or harsh) and un 
equal voice, about whose nationality no two persons could be found 
to agree, and in whose utterance no syllabification could be detected." 

At these words a vague and half- formed conception of the mean 
ing of Dupin flitted over my mind. I seemed to be upon the verge 
of comprehension, without power to comprehend as men, at times, 
find themselves upon the brink of remembrance, without being able 
in the end, to remember. My friend went on with his discourse. 

"You will see," he said, "t^at-J-kave shifted the question from 
the mode of egress to that of ingress. It was my design to convey 
the idea that both were effected in the same manner, at the same 
point. Let us now revert to the interior of the room. Let us 
survey the appearances here. The drawers of the bureau, it is said, 
had been rifled, although many articles of apparel still remained 



THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. 195 

within them. The conclusion here is absurd. It is a mere guess 
a very silly one and no more. How are we to know that the 
articles found in the drawers were not all these drawers had origin 
ally contained ? Madame L Espanaye and her daughter lived an ex 
ceedingly retired life saw no company seldom went out had 
little use for numerous changes of habiliment. Those found were 
at least of as good quality as any likely to be possessed by these 
ladies. If a thief had taken any, why did he not take the best 
why did he not take all ? In a word, why did he abandon four 
s thousand francs in gold to encumber himself with a bundle of 
:inen ? The gold ivas abandoned. Nearly the whole sum mentioned 
jy Monsieur Mignaud, the banker, was discovered, in bags, upon 
;he floor. I wish you, therefore, to discard from your thoughts the 
Blundering idea of motive, engendered in the brains of the police by 
;hat portion of the evidence which speaks of money delivered at the 
i loor of the house. Coincidences ten times as remarkable as this 
the delivery of the money, and murder committed within three 
1 lays upon the party receiving it), happen to all of us every hour of 
>ur lives, without attracting even momentary notice. Coincidences, 
n general, are great stumbling-blocks in the way of that class of 
hmkers who have been educated to know nothing of the theory of 
probabilities that theory to which the most glorious objects of 
luman research are indebted for the most glorious of illustration, 
n the present instance, had the gold been gone, the fact of its 
<elivery three days before would have formed something more 
han a coincidence. It would have been corroborative of this idea 
f motive. But, under the real circumstances of the case, if we are 

suppose gold the motive of this outrage, we must also imagine 
lie perpetrator so vacillating an idiot as to have abandoned his 
old and his motive together. 

" Keeping now steadily in mind the points to which I have drawn 
our attention that peculiar voice, that unusual agility, and that 
tartling absence of motive in a murder so singularly atrocious as 

1 !iis let us glance at the butchery itself. Here is a woman stran- 
led to death by manual strength, and thrust up a chimney, head 
ownward. Ordinary assassins employ no such modes of murder as 
:iis. Least of all, do they thus dispose of the murdered. In the 
lanner of thrusting the corpse up the chimney, you will admit 

. :iat there was something excessively outre something altogether 
I reconcilable with our common notions of human action, even 



196 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

when we suppose the actors the most depraved of men. Think, too, 
how great must have been that strength which could have thrust 
the body up such an aperture so forcibly that the united vigour of 
several persons was found barely sufficient to drag it down ! 

" Turn, now, to other indications of the employment of a vigojar 
most marvellous. On the hearth were thick tresses very thick 
tresses of grey human hair. These had been torn out by the roots. 
You are aware of the great force necessary in tearing thus from the 
head even twenty or thirty hairs together. You saw the locks in 
question as well as myself. Their roots (a hideous sight !) were 
clotted with fragments of the flesh of the scalp sure token of the 
^fodigloTts power which had been exerted in uprooting perhaps 
half a million of hairs at a time. The throat of the old lady was 
not merely cut, but the head absolutely severed from the body : the 
instrument was a mere razor. I wish you also to look at the brutal 
ferocity of these deeds. Of the bruises upon the body of Madame 
L Espanaye I do not speak. Monsieur Dumas, and his worthy 
coadjutor Monsieur Etienne, have pronounced that they were in 
flicted by some obtuse instrument ; and so far these gentlemen are 
very correct. The obtuse instrument was clearly the stone pave 
ment in the yard, upon which the victim had fallen from the win 
dow which looked in upon the bed. This idea, however simple it 
may now seem, escaped the police for the same reason that the 
breadth of the shutters escaped them because, by the affair of the 
nails, their perceptions had been -kerml}T*e&lly sealed against the 
possibility of the windows having ever beeiiTopened at all. 

" If now, in addition to all these things, you have properly re 
flected upon the odd disorder of the chamber, we have gone so far 
as to combine the ideas of an agility astounding, a strength super 
human, a ferocity brutal, a butchery without motive, a grotesquerie 
in horror absolutely alien from humanity, and a voice foreign in 
tone to the ears of men of many nations, and devoid of all distinct 
or intelligible syllabification. What result, then, has ensued ? What 
impression have I made upon your fancy T 

I felt a creeping of the flesh as Dupin asked me the question. 
" A madman," I said, " has done this deed some raving maniac 
escaped from a neighbouring Maison de Sante." 

" In some respects," he replied, " your idea is not irrelevant. 
But the voices of madmen, even in their wildest paroxysms, are 
never found to tally with that peculiar voice heard upon the staira. 



THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. 197 

Madmen are of some nation, and their language, however incoherent 
in its words, has always the coherence of syllabification. Besides, 
the hair of a madman is not such as I now hold in my hand. I 
disentangled this little tuft from the rigidly clutched fingers of 
Madame L Espanaye. Tell me what you can make of it." 

" Dupin," I said, completely unnerved ; " this hair is most un 
usualthis is no human hair." 

" I have not asserted that it is," said he ; " but, before we decide 
this point, I wish you to glance at the little sketch I have here 
traced upon this paper. It is&fac-simile drawing of what has been 
described in one portion of the testimony as dark bruises, arid 
deep indentations of finger nails, upon the throat of Mademoiselle 
L Espanaye, and in another (by Messrs. Dumas and Etienne), as a 
* series of livid spots, evidently the impression of fingers/ 

"You will perceive," continued my friend, spreading out the 
paper upon the table before us, " that this drawing gives the idea 
of a firm and fixed hold. There is no dipping apparent. Each 
finger has retained possibly until the death of the victim the 
fearful grasp by which it originally imbedded itself. Attempt, now, 
to place all your fingers, at the same time, in the respective impres 
sions as you see them." 

I made the attempt in vain. 

" We are possibly not giving this matter a fair trial," he said. 
" The paper is spread out upon a plane surface ; but the human 
throat is cylindrical. Here is a billet of wood, the circumference of 
which is about that of the throat. Wrap the drawing round it, and 
try the experiment again." 

I did so ; but the difficulty was even more obvious than before. 
" This," I said, " is the mark of no human hand." 

" Read now," replied Dupin, " this passage from Cuvier." 

It was a minute anatomical and generally descriptive account of 
the large fulvous Ourang-Outang of the East Indian Islands. The 
gigantic stature, the prodigious strength and activity, the wild 
ferocity, and the imitative propensities of these mammalia are 
sufficiently well known to all. I understood the full horrors of the 
murder at once. 

"The description of the digits," said I, as I made an end of 
reading, " is in exact accordance with this drawing. I see that no 
animal but an Ourang-Outang, of the species here mentioned, could 
have impressed the indentations as you have traced them. This tuft 



198 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

of tawny hair, too, is identical in character with that of the beast of 
Cuvier. But I cannot possibly comprehend the particulars of this 
frightful mystery. Besides, there were tivo voices heard in conten 
tion, and one of them was unquestionably the voice of a Frenchman." 

" True ; and you will remember an expression attributed almost 
unanimously, by the evidence, to this voice, the expression * mon 
Dieu r This, under the circumstances, has been justly character 
ized by one of the witnesses (Montani, the confectioner,) as an ex 
pression of remonstrance or expostulation. Upon these two words, 
therefore, I have mainly built my hopes of a full solution of the 
riddle. A Frenchman was cognizant of the murder. It is possible 
indeed it is far more than probable that he was innocent of all 
participation in the bloody transactions which took place. The 
Ourang-Outang may have escaped from him. He may have traced 
it to the chamber ; but, under the agitating circumstances which 
ensued, he could never have re-captured it. It is still at large. I 
will not pursue these guesses for I have no right to call them 
more since the shades of reflection upon which they are based are 
scarcely of sufficient depth to be appreciable to my own intellect, 
and since I could not pretend to make them intelligible to the un 
derstanding of another. We will call them guesses then, and speak 
of them as such. If the Frenchman in question is indeed, as I sup 
pose, innocent of this atrocity, this advertisement, which I left last 
night, upon our return home, at the office of Le Monde (a paper 
devoted to the shipping interest, and much sought by sailors), will 
bring him to our residence." 

He handed me a paper, and I read thus : 

" CAUGHT 7 the Bois de Boulogne, early in the morning of the 
inst. [the morning of the murder], a very large, tawny Ourang- 
Outang of the Bornese species. The owner (who is ascertained to be 
a sailor, belonging^ to a Maltese vessel), may have the animal again, 
upon identifying it satisfactorily, and paying a few charges arising 
from its capture and keeping. Call at No. , Hue , .Fau 
bourg St. Germain au troisieme." 

" How was it possible,". I asked, " that you should know the man 
to be a sailor, and belonging to a Maltese vessel V 

"I do not know it," said Dupin. " I am not sure of it. Here, 
however, is a small piece of ribbon, which from its form, and from 
its greasy appearance, has evidently been used in tying the hair in 



THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. 199 

one of those long queues of which sailors are so fond. Moreover, 
this knot is one which few besides sailors can tie, and is peculiar 
to the Maltese. I picked the ribbon up at the foot of the light 
ning-rod. It could not have belonged to either of the deceased. 
Now if, after all, I am wrong in my induction from this ribbon, 
that the Frenchman was a sailor belonging to a Maltese vessel, still 
I can have done no harm in saying what I did in the advertisement. 
If I ain in error, he will merely suppose that I have been misled by 
some circumstance into which he will not take the trouble to inquire. 
But if I am right, a great point is gained. Cognizant although 
innocent of the murder, the Frenchman will naturally hesitate 
about replying to the advertisement about demanding the Ourang- 
Outang. He will reason thus : * I am innocent ; I am poor ; my 
Ourang-Outang is of great value to one in my circumstances a 
fortune of itself why should I lose it through idle apprehensions 
of danger 1 Here it is, within my grasp. It was found in the Bois 
de Boulogne at a vast distance from the scene of that butchery. 
How can it ever be suspected that a brute beast should have done 
the deed ? The police are at fault they have failed to procure the 
slightest clew. Should they even trace the animal, it would be im 
possible to prove me cognizant of the murder, or to implicate mo 
rn guilt on account of that cognizance. Above all, / am known: 
The advertiser designates me as the possessor of the beast. I am 
not sure to what limit his knowledge may extend. Should I avoid 
claiming a property of so great value, which it is known that I 
possess, I will render the animal at least liable to suspicion. It is 
not my policy to attract attention either to myself or to the beast. 
I will answer the advertisement, get the Ourang-Outang, and keep 
it close until this matter has blown over. " 

At this moment we heard a step upon the stairs. 

" Be ready," said Dupin, " with your pistols, but neither use them 
xior show them until at a signal from myself. 

The front door of the house had been left open, and the visitor 
had entered, without ringing, and advanced several steps upon the 
staircase. Now, however, he seemed to hesitate. Presently we 
heard him descending. Dupin was moving quickly to the door, 
when we again heard him coming up. He did not turn back a 
second time, but stepped up with decision, and rapped at the door 
of our chamber. 

" Come in," said Dupin, in a cheerful and hearty tone. 



200 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

A man entered. He was a sailor, evidently, a tall, stout, and 
muscular -looking person, with a certain dare-devil expression of 
countenance, not altogether unprepossessing. His face, greatly 
sunburnt, was more than half hicMe^-by whisker and mustachio. 
He had with him a huge oaken (^m^eVout appeared to be other 
wise unarmed. He bowed awkwardly, and bade us "good even 
ing," in French accents, which, although somewhat Neufchatelish, 
were still sufficiently indicative of a Parisian origin. 

" Sit down, my friend," said Dupin. " I suppose you have called 
about the Ourang-Outang. Upon my word, I almost envy you the 
possession of him ; a remarkably fine, and no doubt a very valuable 
animal. How old do you suppose him to be 1 ?" 

The sailor drew a long breath, with the air of a man relieved of 
some intolerable burden, and then replied, in an assured tone : 

" I have no way of telling but he can t be more than four or five 
years old. Have you got him here 1" 

" Oh no ; we had no conveniences for keeping him here. He is 
at a livery stable in the Rue Dubourg, just by. You can get him in 
the morning. Of course you are prepared to identify the property V 

" To be sure I am, sir." 

"I shall be sorry to part with him," said Dupin. 

" I don t mean that you should be at all this trouble for nothing, 
sir," said the man. " Couldn t expect it. Am very willing to pay 
a reward for the finding of the animal that is to say, anything in 
reason." 

" Well, replied my friend, " that is all very fair, to be sure. Let 
me think ! what should I have ? Oh! I will tell you. My reward 
shall be this. You shall give me all the information in your power 
about these murders in the Rue Morgue." 



Dupin said the last words in a very low tone, and very quietly. 
Just as quietly, too, he walked toward the door, locked it, and put 
the key in his pocket. He then drew a pistol from his bosoni, and 
placed it, without the least flurry, upon the table. 

The sailor s face flushed up as if he were struggling with suffo 
cation. He started to his feet and grasped his cudgel; but the 
next moment he fell back into his seat, trembling violently, and 
with the countenance of death itself. He spoke not a word. I 
pitied him from the bottom of my heart. 

"My friend," aid Dupin, in a kind tone, "you are alarming 
yourself unnecessarily you are indeed. We mean you no harm 



THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. 201 

whatever. I pledge you the honour of a gentleman, and of a 
Frenchman, that we intend you no injury. I perfectly well know 
that you are innocent of the atrocities in the Rue Morgue. It will 
not do, however, to deny that you are in some measure implicated 
in them. From what I have already said, you must know that I 
have had means of information about this matter means of which 
you could never have dreamed. Now the thing stands thus. You 
have done nothing which you could have avoided nothing, cer 
tainly, which renders you culpable. You were not even guilty of 
robbery, when you might have robbed with impunity. You have 
nothing to conceal. You have no reason for concealment. On the 
other hand, you are bound by every principle of honour to confess 
all you know. An innocent man is now imprisoned, charged with 
that crime of which you can point out the perpetrator." 

The sailor had recovered his presence of mind, in a great measure, 
while Dupin uttered these words ; but his original boldness of 
bearing was all gone. 

" So help me God," said he, after a brief pause, " I will tell you 
all I know about this affair ; but I do not expect you to believe 
one half I say I would be a fool indeed if I did. Still, I am inno 
cent, and I will make a clean breast if I die for it." 

What he stated was, in substance, this. He had lately made a 
voyage to the Indian Archipelago. A party, of which he formed 
one, landed at Borneo, and passed into the interior on an excursion 
of pleasure. Himself and a companion had captured the Ourang- 
Outang. This companion dying, the animal fell into his own 
exclusive possession. After great trouble, occasioned by the intract 
able ferocity of his captive during the home voyage, he at length 
succeeded in lodging it safely at his own residence in Paris, where, 
not to attract toward himself the unpleasant curiosity of his neigh 
bours, he kept it carefully secluded, until such time as it should 
recover from a wound in the foot, received from a splinter on board 
ship. His ultimate design was to sell it. 

Returning home from some sailors frolic on the night, or rather 
in the morning of the murder, he found the beast occupying his 
own bedroom, into which it had broken from a closet adjoining 5 
where it had been, as was thought, securely confined. Razor in 
hand, and fully lathered, it was sitting before a looking glass^ 
attempting the operation of shaving, in which it had no doubt 
previously watched its master through the key-hole of the closet. 



202 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POM, 

Terrified at the sight of so dangerous a weapon in the possession of 
an animal so ferocious, and so well able to use it, the man, for some 
moments, was at a loss what to do. He had been accustomed, 
however, to quiet the creature, even in its fiercest moods, by the 
use of a whip, and to this he now resorted. Upon sight of it, the 
Ourang-Outang sprang at once through the door of the chamber, 
down the stairs, and thence, through a window, unfortunately open, 
into the street. 

The Frenchman followed in despair ; the ape, razor still in hand, 
occasionally stopping to look back and gesticulate at its pursuer, 
until the latter had nearly come up with it. It then again made 
off. In this manner the chase continued for a long time. The 
streets were profoundly quiet, as it was nearly three o clock in the 
morning. In passing down an alley in the rear of the Hue Morgue, 
the fugitive s attention was arrested by a light gleaming from the 
open window of Madame L Espanaye s chamber, in the fourth 
story of her house. Rushing to the building, it perceived the 
lightning-rod, clambered up with inconceivable agility, grasped 
the shutter, which was thrown fully back against the wall, and, by 
its means, swung itself directly upon the headboard of the bed. 
The whole feat did not occupy a minute. The shutter was kicked 
open again by the Ourang-Outang as it entered the room. 

The sailor, in the meantime, was both rejoiced and perplexed. 
He had strong hopes of now recapturing the brute, as it could 
scarcely escape from the trap into which it had ventured, except 
by the rod, where it might be intercepted as it came down. On 
the other hand, there was much cause for anxiety as to what it 
might do in the house. This latter reflection urged the man still 
to follow the fugitive. A lightning-rod is ascended without diffi 
culty, especially by a sailor ; but, when he had arrived as high as 
the window, which lay far to his left, his career was stopped ; the 
most that he could accomplish was to reach over so as to obtain a 
glimpse of the interior of the room. At this glimpse he nearly fell 
from his hold through excess of horror. Now it was that those 
hideous shrieks arose upon the night, which had startled from 
slumber the inmates of the Hue Morgue. Madame L Espanaye 
and her daughter, habited in their night clothes, had apparently 
been occupied in arranging some papers in the iron chest already 
mentioned, which had been wheeled into the middle of the room. 
It was open, and its contents lay beside it on the floor. The victims 



THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE. 203 

must have been sitting with their backs toward the window ; and, 
from the time elapsing between the ingress of the beast and the 
screams, it seems probable that it was not immediately perceived. 
The flapping-to of the shutter would naturally have been attributed 
to the wind. 

As the sailor looked in, the gigantic animal had seized Madame 
L Espanaye by the hair, (which was loose, as she had been combing 
it,) and was flourishing the razor about her face, in imitation of the 
motions of a barber. The daughter lay J>rostrat<fand motionless ; 
she had swooned. The screams and struggles of the old lady 
(during whlclf the hair was torn from her head) had the effect of 
changing the probably pacific purposes of the Ouraiig-Outang into 
those of wrath. With one determined sweep of its muscular arm 
it nearly severed her head from her body. The sight of blood 
inflamed its anger into frenzy. Gnashing its teeth, and flashing 
fire from its eyes, it flew upon the body of the girl, and imbedded 
its fearful talons in her throat, retaining its grasp until she expired. 
Its wandering and wild glances fell at this moment upon the head 
of the bed, over which the face of its master, rigid with horror, 
was just discernible. The fury of the beast, who no doubt bore 
still in mind the dreaded whip, was instantly converted into fear. 
Conscious of having deserved punishment, it seemed desirous of 
concealing its bloody deeds, and skipped about the chamber in an 
agony of nervous agitation ; throwing down and breaking the 
furniture as it moved, and dragging the bed from the bedstead. 
In conclusion, it seized first the corpse of the daughter, and thrust 
it up the chimney, as it was found ; then that of the old lady, 
which it immediately hurled through the window headlong. 

As the ape approached the (jasemeiit with its mutilated burden, 
the sailor shrank aghast to the rod, and rather gliding than clam 
bering down it, hurried at once home dreading the consequences 
of the butchery, and gladly abandoning, in his terror, all solicitude 
about the fate of the Ourang-Outang. The words heard by the party 
upon the staircase were the Frenchman s exclamations of horror and 
affright, commingled with the fiendish jabberings of the brute. 

I have scarcely anything to add. The Ourang-Outang must 
have escaped from the chamber, by the rod, just before the breaking 
of the door. It must have closed the window as it passed through 
it. It was subsequently caught by the owner himself, who obtained 
for it a very large sum at the Jar din des Plantes. Le Bon was 



^04 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

instantly released upon our narration of the circumstances (with 
some comments from Dupin) at the bureau of the Prefect of 
Police. This functionary, however^ll disposed to my friend, 
could not altogether conceal his djagfm at the turn which affairs 
had taken, and was fain to indulge in a sarcasm or two, about the 
propriety of every person minding his own business. 

" Let him talk," said Dupin, who had not thought it necessary 
to reply. " Let him discourse ; it will ease his conscience. I am 
satisfied with having defeated him in his own castle. Nevertheless, 
that he failed in the solution of this mystery, is by no means that 
matter for wonder which he supposes it ; for, in truth, our friend 
the Prefect is somewhat too cunning to be profound. In his 
wisdom is no stamen. It is all head and no body, like the pictures 
of the Goddess Laverna, or, at best, all head and shoulders, like 
a codfish. But he is a good creature after all. I like him especially 
for one master stroke of cant, by which he has attained his reputa 
tion for ingenuity. I mean the way he has de nier ce qui eft, et 
dexpliquer ce qui n est ^>as. "* 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET.t 

A SEQUEL TO "THE MUPvDEES IN THE RUE MORGUE." 

Es giebt eine Reihe idealisclier Begebenheiten, die der Wirklichkcit 
parallel lauft. Selten. fallen sie zusammen. Menschen und zufalle 
modificiren gewohulich die idealische Begebenheit, so dass sie unvoll- 
kommen erscheint, und ihre Folgen gleichfalls unvollkomraen sind. 
So bei der Reformation ; statt des Protestantismus kain das Luther- 
thum hervor. 

There are ideal series of events which run parallel with the real ones. 
They rarely coincide. Men and circumstances generally modify the 
ideal train of events, so that it seems imperfect, and its consequences 
are equally imperfect. Thus with the Reformation ; instead of 
Protestantism came Lutheranism. Novalis (the nom deplume of Von 
Hardenburg) . Moral Aiisichten. 

HERE are few persons, even amongst the calmest thinkers, 
who have not occasionally been startled into a vague yet 
thrilling half-credence in the supernatural, by coincidences 
of so seemingly marvellous a character that, as mere coincidences, 
the intellect has been unable to receive them. Such sentiments 

* Rousseau Nouvelle Heloise. 

tUpon the original publication of " Marie Rog^t," the foot-notes now 
appended were considered unnecessary ; but the lapse of several years 
since the tragedy upon which the tale is based, renders it expedient to 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 205 

for the half credences of which I speak have never the full force 
of thought such sentiments are seldom thoroughly stifled unless 
by reference to the doctrine of chance, or, as it is technically termed, 
the Calculus of Probabilities. Now this Calculus is, in its essence, 
purely mathematical ; and thus we have the anomaly of the most 
rigidly exact in science applied to the shadow and spirituality of 
the most intangible in speculation. 

The extraordinary details which I am now called upon to make 
public, will be found to form, as regards sequence of time, the 
primary branch of a series of scarcely intelligible coincidences, whose 
secondary or concluding branch will be recognized by all readers 
in the late murder of MARY CECILIA ROGERS, at New York. 

When, in an article entitled " The Murders in the Rue Morgue," 
I endeavoured, about a year ago, to depict some very remarkable 
features in the mental character of my friend, the Chevalier C. 
Auguste Dupin, it did not occur to me that I should ever resume 
the subject. This depicting of character constituted my design ; 
and this design was thoroughly fulfilled in the wild train of cir 
cumstances brought to instance Dupin s idiosyncrasy. I might 
have adduced other examples, but I should have proven no more. 
Late events, however, in their surprising development, have 
startled me into some further details, which will carry with them 
the air of extorted confession. Hearing what I have lately heard, 
it would be indeed strange should I remain silent in regard to 
what I both heard and saw so long ago. 

give them, and also to say a few words in explanation of the general 
design. A young girl, Mary Cecilia Rogers, was murdered in the 
vicinity of New York ; and although her death occasioned an intense 
and long-enduring excitement, the mystery attending it had remained 
unsolved at the period when the present paper was written and pub 
lished (November, 1842). Herein, under pretence of relating the fate 
of a Parisian grisette, the author has followed, in minute detail, the 
essential, while merely paralleling the unessential facts of the real 
murder of Mary Rogers. Thus all argument founded upon the fiction is 
applicable to the truth: and the investigation of the truth was the object. 
The " Mystery of Marie Roget " was composed at a distance from the 
scene of the atrocity, and with no other means of investigation than the 
newspapers afforded. Thus much escaped the writer of which he could 
have availed himself had he been upon the spot, and visited the locali 
ties. It may not be improper to record, nevertheless, that the confes 
sions of two persons (one of them the Madame Deluc of the narrative), 
made, at different periods, long subsequent to the publication, confirmed, 
in full, not only the general conclusion, but absolutely all the chief 
hypothetical details by which that conclusion was attained. 



2 o6 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

Upon the winding up of the tragedy involved in the deaths of 
Madame L Espanaye and her daughter, the Chevalier dismissed 
the affair at once from his attention, and relapsed into his old 
habits of moody reverie. Prone, at all times, to abstraction, I 
readily fell in with his humour ; and continuing to occupy our 
chambers in the Faubourg Saint Germain, we gave the Future to 
the winds, and slumbered tranquilly in the Present, weaving the 
dull world around us into dreams. 

But these dreams were not altogther uninterrupted. It may 
readily be supposed that the part played by my friend, in the 
drama at the Eue Morgue, had not failed of its impression upon 
the fancies of the Parisian police. With its emissaries, the name of 
Dupin had grown into a household word. The simple character of 
those inductions by which he had disentangled the mystery never 
having been explained even to the Prefect, or to any other indi 
vidual than myself, of course it is not surprising that the affair was 
regarded as little less than miraculous, or that the Chevalier s 
analytical abilities acquired for him the credit of intuition. His 
frankness would have led him to disabuse every inquirer of such 
prejudice; but his indolent humour forbade all further agitation of 
a topic whose interest to himself had long ceased. It thus happened 
that he found himself the cynosure of the policial eyes ; and the 
cases were not few in which attempt was made to engage his ser 
vices at the Prefecture. * One of the most remarkable instances 
was that of the murder of a young girl named Marie Roget. 

This event occurred about two years after the atrocity in the 
Hue Morgue. Marie, whose Christian and family name will at once 
arrest attention from their resemblance to those of the unfortunate 
" cigar-girl," was the only daughter of the widow Estelle Roget. 
The father had died during the child s infancy, and from the period 
of his death, until within eighteen months before the assassination 
which forms the subject of our narrative, the mother and daughter 
had dwelt together in the Rue Pave"e Saint Andrew ;* Madame 
there keeping a pension, assisted by Marie. Affairs went on thus 
until the latter had attained her twenty-second year, when her 
great beauty attracted the notice of a perfumer, who occupied one 
of the shops in the basement of the Palais Royal, and whose cus 
tom lay chiefly among the desperate adventurers infesting that 
neighbourhood. Monsieur Le Blanct was not unaware of the ad- 
* Nassau Street. f Anderson. 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 207 

vantages to be derived from the attendance of the fair Marie in his 
perfumery; and his liberal proposals were accepted eagerly by the 
girl, although with somewhat more of hesitation by Madame. 

The anticipations of the shopkeeper were realized, and his rooms 
soon became notorious through the charms of the sprightly grisette. 
She had been in his employ about a year, when her admirers were 
thrown into confusion by her sudden disappearance from the shop. 
Monsieur Le Blanc was unable to account for her absence, and 
Madame Roget was distracted with anxiety and terror. The pub 
lic papers immediately took up the theme, and the police were 
upon the point of making serious investigations, when, one fine 
morning, after the lapse of a week, Marie, in good health, but with 
a somewhat saddened air, made her re-appearance at her usual 
counter in the perfumery. All inquiry, except that of a private 
character, was of course immediately hushed. Monsieur Le Blanc 
professed total ignorance, as before. Marie, with Madame, replied 
to all questions, that the last week had been spent at the house of 
a relation in the country. Thus the affair died away, and was 
generally forgotten ; for the girl, ostensibly to relieve herself from 
the impertinence of curiosity, soon bade a final adieu to the per 
fumer, and sought the shelter of her mother s residence in the Rue 
Pavee Saint Andre"e. 

It was about five months after this return home, that her friends 
were alarmed by her sudden disappearance for the second time. 
Three days elapsed, and nothing was heard of her. On the fourth 
her corpse was found floating in the Seine,* near the shore which 
is opposite the Quartier of the Rue Saint Andre*e, and at a point 
not very far distant from the secluded neighbourhood of the Bar- 
riere du Roule.t 

The atrocity of this murder (for it was at once evident that mur 
der had been committed), the youth and beauty of the victim, and, 
above all, her previous notoriety, conspired to produce intense 
excitement in the minds of the sensitive Parisians. I can call to 
mind no similar occurrence producing so general and so intense an 
effect. For several weeks, in the discussion of this one absorbing 
theme, even the momentous political topics of the day were for 
gotten. The Prefect made unusual exertions; and the powers of the 
whole Parisian police were, of course, tasked to the utmost extent. 

Upon the first discovery of the corpse, it was not supposed that 
* The Hudson. f Weehawken. 



2o8 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

the murderer would be able to elude, for more than a very brief 
period, the inquisition which was immediately set on foot. It was 
not until the expiration of a week that it was deemed necessary to 
offer a reward ; and even then this reward was limited to a thou 
sand francs. In the meantime the investigation proceeded with 
vigour, if not always with judgment, and numerous individuals were 
examined to no purpose ; while, owing to the continual absence of 
all clew to the mystery, the popular excitement greatly increased. 
At the end of the tenth day it was thought advisable to double the 
sum originally proposed ; and, at length, the second week having 
elapsed without leading to any discoveries, and the prejudice which 
always exists in Paris against the police having given vent to itself 
in several serious emeutes, the Prefect took it upon himself to offer 
the sum of twenty thousand francs "for the conviction of the 
assassin," or, if more than one should prove to have been implicated, 
"for the conviction of any one of the assassins." In the proclama 
tion setting forth this reward, a full pardon was promised to any 
accomplice who should come forward in evidence against his fel 
low; and to the whole was appended, wherever it appeared, the 
private placard of a committee of citizens, offering ten thousand 
francs, in addition to the amount proposed by the Prefecture. The 
entire reward thus stood at no less than thirty thousand francs, 
which will be regarded as an extraordinary sum when we consider 
the humble condition of the girl, and the great frequency, in large 
cities, of such atrocities as the one described. 

No one doubted now that the mystery of this murder would be 
immediately brought to light. But although, in one or two instances, 
arrests were made which promised elucidation, yet nothing was 
elicited which could implicate the parties suspected; and they were 
discharged forthwith. Strange as it may appear, the third week 
from the discovery of the body had passed, and passed without any 
light being thrown upon the subject, before even a rumour of the 
events which had so agitated the public mind reached the ears of 
Dupin and myself. Engaged in researches which had absorbed our 
whole attention, it had been nearly a month since either of us had 
gone abroad, or received a visitor, or more than glanced at the 
leading political articles in one of the daily papers. The first in 
telligence of the murder was brought us by G- , in person. He 
called upon us early in the afternoon of the 13th of July, 18, 
and remained with us until late in the night. He had been 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 209 

piqued by the failure of all his endeavours to ferret out the assas 
sins. His reputation so he said with a peculiarly Parisian air 
was at stake. Even his honour was concerned. The eyes of the 
public were upon him ; and there was really no sacrifice which he 
would not be willing to make for the development of the mystery. 
He concluded a somewhat droll speech with a compliment upon 
what he was pleased to term the tact of Dupin, and made him a 
direct, and certainly a liberal proposition, the precise nature of which 
I do not feel myself at liberty to disclose, but which has no bearing 
upon the proper subject of my narrative. 

The compliment my friend rebutted as best he could, but the 
proposition he accepted at once, although its advantages were alto 
gether provisional. This point being settled, the Prefect broke forth 
at once into explanations of his own views, interspersing them with 
long comments upon the evidence; of which latter we were not yet 
in possession. He discoursed much, and beyond doubt learnedly; 
while I hazarded an occasional suggestion as the night wore drowsily 
away. Dupin, sitting steadily in his accustomed arm-chair, was the 
embodiment of respectful attention. He wore spectacles during 
the whole interview; and an occasional glance beneath their green 
glasses sufficed to convince me that he slept not the less soundly, 
because silently, throughout the seven or eight leaden-footed hours 
which immediately preceded the departure of the Prefect. 

In the morning I procured, at the Prefecture, a full report of all 
the evidence elicited, and, at the various newspaper offices, a copy 
of every paper in which, from first to last, had been published any 
decisive information in regard to this sad affair. Freed from all 
that was positively disproved, this mass of information stood thus : 

Marie Roget left the residence of her mother, in the Rue Paveo 
St. Andree, about nine o clock in the morning of Sunday, June the 
22nd, 18. In going out she gave notice to a Monsieur Jacques 
St. Eustache,* and to him only, of her intention to spend the 
clay with an aunt who resided in the Rue des Dromes. The 
Rue des Dromes is a short and narrow but populous thoroughfare, 
not far from the banks of the river, and at a distance of some two 
miles, in the most direct course possible, from the pension of Ma 
dame Roget. St. Eustache was the accepted suitor of Marie, and 
lodged, as well as took his meals, at the pension. He was to have 
gone for his betrothed at dusk, and to have escorted her home. In 

* Payne, 

14 



5i6 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

the afternoon, however, it came on to rain heavily; and, supposing 
that she would remain all night at her aunt s (as she had done 
under similar circumstances before), he did not think it necessary 
to keep his promise. As night drew on, Madame Roget (who was 
an infirm old lady, seventy years of age,) was heard to express a 
fear that she should never see Made again;" but this observation 
attracted little attention at the time. 

On Monday, it was ascertained that the girl had not been to the 
Hue des Dromes ; and when the day elapsed without tidings of her, 
a tardy search was instituted at several points in the city and its 
environs. It was not, however, until the fourth day from the 
period of her disappearance that anything satisfactory was ascer 
tained respecting her. On this day, (Wednesday, the "25th 
of June,) a Monsieur Beauvais,* who, with a friend, had been 
making inquiries for Marie near the Barriere du Roule, on the shore 
of the Seine which is opposite the Rue Pavee St. Andree, was in 
formed that a corpse had just been towed ashore by some fishermen, 
who had found it floating in the river. Upon seeing the body, 
Beauvais, after some hesitation, identified it as that of the perfumery 
girl. His friend recognized it more promptly. 

The face was suffused with dark blood, some of which issued 
from the mouth. No foam was seen, as in the case of the merely 
drowned. There was no discolouration in the cellular tissue. About 
the throat were bruises and impressions of fingers. The arms were 
bent over on the chest, and were rigid* The right hand was 
Clenched ; the left partially open. On the left wrist were two cir 
cular excoriations, apparently the effect of ropes, or of a rope in 
more than one volution* A part of the right wrist, also, was much 
chafed, as well as the back throughout its extent, but more especi 
ally at the shoulder-blades. In bringing the body to the shore the 
fishermen had attached to it a rope, but none of the excoriations 
had been effected by this. The flesh of the neck was much swollen. 
There were no cuts apparent, or bruises which appeared the effect 
of blows. A piece of lace was found tied so tightly around the 
neck as to be hidden from sight ; it was completely buried in the 
flesh, and was fastened by a knot which lay just under the left ear. 
This alone would have sufiiced to produce death. The medical 
testimony spoke confidently of the virtuous character of the de 
ceased. She had been subjected, it said, to brutal violence. The 
* Croimreliii* 



THE MYSTER y OF MARIE ROGET. i\\ 

corpse was in such condition when found that there could have 
been no difficulty in its recognition by friends. 

The dress was much torn and otherwise disordered. In the outer 
garment, a slip, about a foot wide, had been torn upward from the 
bottom hem to the waist, but not torn off. It was wound three 
times around the waist, and secured by a sort of hitch in the back. 
The dress immediately beneath the frock was of fine muslin ; and 
from this a slip eighteen inches wide had been torn entirely out 
torn very evenly and with great care. It was found around her 
neck, fitting loosely, and secured with a hard knot. Over this muslin 
slip and the slip of lace, the strings of a bonnet were attached, the 
bonnet being appended. The knot by which the strings of the 
bonnet were fastened, was not a lady s, but a slip or sailor s knot. 

After the recognition of the corpse, it was not, as usual, taken to 
the Morgue, (this formality being superfluous,) but hastily interred 
not far from the spot at which it was brought ashore. Through the 
exertions of Beauvais the matter was industriously hushed up, as 
far as possible ; and several days had elapsed before any public 
emotion resulted. A weekly paper,* however, at length took up 
the theme ; the corpse was disinterred, and a re-examination insti 
tuted ; but nothing was elicited beyond what has been already 
noted. The clothes, however, were now submitted to the mother 
and friends of the deceased, and fully identified as those worn by 
the girl upon leaving home. 

Meantime, the excitement increased hourly. Several individuals 
were arrested and discharged. St. Eustache fell especially under 
suspicion ; and he failed, at first, to give an intelligible account of 
his whereabouts during the Sunday on which Marie left home. 
Subsequently, however, he submitted to Monsieur G - , affidavits, 
accounting satisfactorily for every hour of the day in question. As 
time passed and no discovery ensued, a thousand contradictory 
rumours were circulated, and journalists busied themselves in sug 
gestions. Among these, the one which attracted the most notice, 
was the idea that Marie Roget still lived that the corpse found in 
the Seine was that of some other unfortunate. It will be proper 
that I submit to the reader some passages which embody the sug 
gestion alluded to. These passages are literal translations from 
a paper conducted, in general, with much ability. 



The "N. Y. Mercury." 

The " N. Y. Brother Jonathan," edited by H. Hastings Weld, Esq. 

14-2 



ti2 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

"Mademoiselle Roget left her mother s house on Sunday morning, 
June the twenty-second, 18, with the ostensible purpose of going to see 
her aunt, or some other connexion, in the Rue des Dromes. From that 
jiour nobody is proved to have seen her. There is no trace or tidings of 

her at all There has no person, whatever, come forward, 

60 far, who saw her at all, on that day, after she left her mother s door. 
. . , Now, though we have no evidence that Marie Roget was in 
the land of the living after nine o clock on Sunday, June the twenty- 
second, we have proof that, up to that hour, she was alive. On Wed 
nesday noon, at twelve, a female body was discovered afloat on the shore 
of the Barriere du Roule. This was, even if we presume that Marie 
Rogt was thrown into the river within three hours after she left her 
mother s house, only three days from the time she left her home three 
days to an hour. But it is folly to suppose that the murder, if murder 
was committed on her body, could have been consummated soon enough 
to have enabled her murderers to throw the body into the river before 
midnight. Those who are guilty of such horrid crimes, choose darkness 

rather than light Thus we see that if the body found in the 

river was that of Marie Roget, it could only have been in the water two 
and a half days, or three at the outside. All experience has shown that 
drowned bodies, or bodies thrown into the water immediately after death 
by violence, require from six to ten days for sufficient decomposition to 
take place to bring them to the top of the water. Even where a cannon 
is fired over a corpse, and it rises before at least five or six days immer 
sion, it sinks again, if let alone. Now, we ask, what was there in this 
case to cause a departure from the ordinary course of nature ? . . . . 
If the body had been kept in its mangled state on shore until Tuesday 
night, some trace would be found on shore of the murderers. It is a 
doubtful point, also, whether the body would be so soon afloat, even 
were it thrown in after having been dead two days. And, furthermore, 
it is exceedingly improbable that any villains who had committed such a 
murder as is here supposed, would have thrown the body in without 
weight to sink it, when such a precaution could have so easily been taken." 

The editor here proceeds to argue that the body must have been 
in the water " mot three days merely, but, at least, five times three 
days," because it was so far decomposed that Beauvais had great 
difficulty in recognizing it. This latter point, however, was fully 
disproved. I continue the translation : 

"What, then, are the facts on which M. Beauvais says that he has no 
doubt the body was that of Mcirie Roget ? He ripped up the gown sleeve 
and says he found marks which satisfied him of the identity. The public 
generally supposed those marks to have consisted of some description of 
scars. He rubbed the arm and found hair upon it something as indefi 
nite, we think, as can readily be imagined as little conclusive as findin^ 
an arm m the sleeve. M. Beauvais did not return that night, but sent 
word to Madame RogSt, at seven o clock, on Wednesday evening, that an 
investigation was still in progress respecting her daughter. If we allow 
that Madame Roget, from her age and grief, could not go over (which 
is allowing a great deal,) there certainly must have been some one who 
would have thought it worth while to go over and attend the investi 
gation, if they thought the body was that of Marie. Nobody went over 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 213 

There was nothing said or heard about the matter in the Rue Pavee St. 
Andree, that reached even the occupants of the same building. M. St. 
Eustache, the lover and intended husband of Marie, who boarded in her 
mother s house, deposes that he did not hear of the discovery of the body 
of his intended until the next morning, when M. Beauvais came into his 
chamber and told him of it. For an item of news like this, it strikes us it 
was very coolly received." 

In this way the journal endeavoured to create the impression of 
an apathy on the part of the relatives of Marie, inconsistent with 
the supposition that these relatives believed the corpse to be hers. 
Its insinuations amount to this : that Marie, with the connivance 
of her friends, had absented herself from the city for reasons in 
volving a charge against her chastity ; and that these friends, upon 
the discovery of a corpse in the Seine, somewhat resembling that 
of the girl, had availed themselves of the opportunity to impress 
the public with the belief of her death. But L Etoile was again 
over-hasty. It was distinctly proved that no apathy, such as was 
imagined, existed ; that the old lady was exceedingly feeble, and so 
agitated as to be unable to attend to any duty ; that St. Eustache, 
so far from receiving the news coolly, was distracted with grief, and 
bore himself so frantically, that M. Beauvais prevailed upon a 
friend and relative to take charge of him, and prevent his attending 
the examination at the disinterment. Moreover, although it was 
stated by L Etoile that the corpse w r as re-interred at the public ex 
pense that an advantageous offer of private sepulture was absolutely 
declined by the family and that no member of the family attended 
the ceremonial : although, I say, all this was asserted by L Etoile 
in furtherance of the impression it designed to convey yet all this 
was satisfactorily disproved. In a subsequent number of the paper 
an attempt was made to throw suspicion upon Beauvais himself. 
The editor says : 

"Now, then, a change comes over the matter. We are told that, on 

one occasion, while a Madame B was at Madame Roget s house, M. 

Beauvais, who was going out, told her that a gendarme was expected 
there, and that she, Madame B., must not say anything to the gendarme 

until he returned, but let the matter be for him In the 

present posture of affairs, M. Beauvais appears to have the whole matter 
locked up in his head. A single step cannot be taken without M. 

Beauvais ; for, go which way you will, yoii run against him 

For some reason, he determined that nobody shall have any thing to do 
with the proceedings but himself, and he has elbowed the male relatives 
out of the way, according to their representations, in a very singular 
manner. He seems to have been very much averse to permitting the 
relatives to see the body." 



214 WORK S OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

By the following fact, some colour was given to the suspicion 
thus thrown upon Beauvais. A visitor at his office, a few days 
prior to the girl s disappearance, and during the absence of its 
occupant, had observed a rose in the key-hole of the door, and the 
name " Marie " inscribed upon a slate which hung near at hand. 

The general impression, so far as we were enabled to glean it 
from the newspapers, seemed to be, that Marie had been the victim 
of a gang of desperadoes that by these she had been borne across 
the river, maltreated and murdered. Le Commerciel* however, a 
print of extensive influence, was earnest in combating this popular 
idea. I quote a passage or two from its columns : 

" We are persuaded that pursuit has hitherto been on a false scent, so 
far as it has been directed to the Barriere du Roule. It is impossible 
that a person so well known to thousands as this young woman was, 
should have passed three blocks without some one having seen her ; and 
any one who saw her would have remembered it, for she interested all 
who knew her. It was when the streets were full of people, when she 
went out. ... It is impossible that she could have gone to the 

Barriere du Roule, or to the Rue des Dromes, without being recognized 
by a dozen persons ; yet no one has come forward who saw her outside 
of her mother s door, and there is no evidence, except the testimony 
concerning her expressed intentions, that she did go out at all. Her 
gown was torn, bound round her, and tied ; and by that the body was 
carried as a bundle. If the murder had been committed at the Barriere 
du Iloule, there would have been no necessity for any such arrange 
ment. The fact that the body was found floating near the Barriere, is 
no proof as to where it was thrown into the water. ...... A 

piece of one of the unfortunate girl s petticoats, two feet long and one 
foot wide, was torn out and tied under her chin around the back of her 
head, probably to prevent screams. This was done by fellows who had 
no pocket-handkerchief." 

A day or two before the Prefect called upon us, however, some 
important information reached the police, which seemed to over 
throw, at least, the chief portion of Le Commerciel s argument. 
Two small boys, sons of a Madame Deluc, while roaming among the 
woods near the Barriere du Roule, chanced to penetrate a close 
thicket, within which were three or four large stones, forming a 
kind of seat, with a back and footstool. On the upper stone lay a 
white petticoat ; on the second a silk scarf. A parasol, gloves, and 
a pocket-handkerchief were also here found. The handkerchief 
bore the name " Marie Itogdt." Fragments of dress were dis 
covered on the brambles around. The earth was trampled, the 
bushes were broken, and there was every evidence of a struggle. 
* N. y. "Journal of Commerce. " 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 215 

Between the thicket and the river, the fences were found taken 
down, and the ground bore evidence of some heavy burden having 
been dragged along it. 

A weekly paper, Le Soliel* had the following comments upon 
this discovery comments which merely echoed the sentiment of 
the whole Parisian press : 

"The things had all evidently been there at least three or four 
weeks ; they were all mildewed down hard with the action of the rain, 
and stuck together from mildew. The grass had grown around and 
over some of them. The silk on the parasol was strong, but the threads 
of it were run together within. The upper part, where it had been 
doubled and folded, was all mildewed and rotten, and tore on its being 

opened The pieces of her frock torn out by the bushes 

were about three inches wide and six inches long. One part was the 
hem of the frock, and it had been mended ; the other piece was part of 
the skirt, not the hem. They looked like strips torn oUj and were on, 

the thorn bush, about a foot from the ground There can 

be no doubt, therefore, that the spot of this appalling outrage has been 
discovered," 

Consequent upon this discovery, new evidence appeared. Madame 
Deluc testified that she keeps a roadside inn not far from the bank 
of the river, opposite the Barriere du Pioule. The neighbourhood 
is secluded particularly so. It is the usual Sunday resort of 
blackguards from the city, who cross the river in boats. About 
three o clock, in the afternoon of the Sunday in question, a young 
girl arrived at the inn, accompanied by a young man of dark com 
plexion. The two remained here for some time. On their de 
parture, they took the road to some thick woods in the vicinity. 
Madame Deluc s attention was called to the dress worn by the girl 
on account of its resemblance to one worn by a deceased relative. 
A scarf was particularly noticed. Soon after the departure of the 
couple, a gang of miscreants made their appearance, behaved 
boisterously, ate and drank without making payment, followed in 
the route of the young man and girl, returned to the inn about 
dusk, and re-crossed the river as if in great haste. 

It was soon after dark, upon this same evening, that Maclame 
Deluc, as well as her eldest son, heard the screams of a female in 
the vicinity of the inn, The screams were violent but brief. 
Madame D. recognized not only the scarf which was found in the 
thicket, but the dress which was discovered upon the corpse. An 
omnibus-driver, Valence,t now also testified that he saw Marie 

* Phil, "Sat. Evening Post," edited by C. I. Peterson, Esq. 
Adam. 



2 i6 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

Roget cross a ferry on the Seine, on the Sunday in question, in 
company with a young man of dark complexion. He, Valence, 
knew Marie, and could not be mistaken in her identity. The 
articles found in the thicket were fully identified by the relatives 
of Marie. 

The items of evidence and information thus collected by myself, 
from the newspapers, at the suggestion of Dupin, embraced only 
one more point but .this was a point of seemingly vast conse 
quence. It appears that, immediately after the discovery of the 
clothes as above described, the lifeless, or nearly lifeless body of 
St. Eustache, Marie s betrothed, was found in the vicinity of what 
all now supposed the scene of the outrage. A phial labelled 
" laudanum," and emptied, was found near him. His breath gave 
evidence of the poison. He died without speaking. Upon his 
person was found a letter, briefly stating his love for Marie, with 
his design of self-destruction. 

" I need scarcely tell you," said Dupin, as he finished the perusal 
of my notes, " that this is a far more intricate case than that of the 
Rue Morgue ; from which it differs in one important respect. 
This is an ordinary, although an atrocious instance of crime. 
There is nothing peculiarly outre about it. You will observe that, 
for this reason, the mystery has been considered easy, when, for 
this reason, it should have been considered difficult of solution. 
Thus, at first, it was thought unnecessary to offer a reward. The 

myrmidons of G were able at once to comprehend how and 

why such an atrocity might have been committed. They could 
picture to their imaginations a mode many modes and a motive 
many motives ; and because it was not impossible that either of 
these numerous modes and motives could have been the actual one, 
they have taken it for granted that one of them must. But the 
ease with which these variable fancies were entertained, and the very 
plausibility which each assumed, should have been understood as 
indicative rather of the difficulties than of the facilities which must 
attend elucidation. I have before observed that it is by promi 
nences above the plane of the ordinary, that reason feels her way, 
if at all, in her search for the true, and that the proper question in 
cases such as this, is not so much what has occurred? as what 
has occurred that has never occurred before V In the investiga 
tions at the house of Madame L Espanaye,* the agents of Q- * 
* See " Murders in the Rue Morgue," 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 217 

were discouraged and confounded by that very imusualness which, 
to a properly regulated intellect, would have afforded the surest 
omen of success ; while this same intellect might have been plunged 
in despair at the ordinary character of all that met the eye in the 
case of the perfumery-girl, and yet told of nothing but easy triumph 
to the functionaries of the Prefecture. 

" In the case of Madame L Espanaye and her daughter, there 
was, even at the beginning of our investigation, no doubt that 
murder had been committed. The idea of suicide was excluded at 
once. Here, too, we are freed, at the commencement, from all 
supposition of self-murder. The body found at the Barriere du 
Eoule, was found under such circumstances as to leave us no room 
for embarrassment upon this important point. But it has been 
suggested that the corpse discovered is not that of the Marie Roget 
for the conviction of whose assassin, or assassins, the reward is 
offered, and respecting whom, solely, our agreement has been 
arranged with the Prefect. We both know this gentleman well. 
It will not do to trust him too far. If dating our inquiries from 
the body found, and thence tracing a murderer, we yet discover 
this body to be that of some other individual than Marie ; or, if 
starting from the living Marie, we find her, yet find her unassassi- 
nated in either case we lose our labour ; since it is Monsieur 
G with whom we have to deal. For our own purpose, there 
fore, if not for the purpose of justice, it is indispensable that our 
first step should be the determination of the identity of the 
corpse with the Marie Roget who is missing. 

" With the public the arguments of L Etoile have had weight ; 
and that the journal itself is convinced of their importance would 
appear from the manner in which it commences one of its essays 
upon the subject Several of the morning papers of the day, it 
says, speak of the conclusive article in Monday s Etoile. To me, 
this article appears conclusive of little beyond the zeal of its inditer. 
We should bear in mind that, in general, it is the object of our 
newspapers rather to create a sensation to make a point than to 
further the cause of truth. The latter end is only pursued when it 
seems coincident with the former. The print which merely falls 
in with ordinary opinion (however well founded this opinion may 
be) earns for itself no credit with the mob. The mass of the 
people regard as profound only him who suggests pungent contra 
dictions of the general idea. In ratiocination, not less than in 



2I g WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE, 

literature, it is the epigram which is the most immediately and 
the most universally appreciated. In both, it is of the lowest order 
of merit. 

" What I mean to say is, that it is the mingled epigram and 
melodrame of the idea that Marie Boget still lives, rather than 
any true plausibility in this idea which have suggested it to 
L Etoile, and secured it a favourable reception with the public. 
Let us examine the heads of this journal s argument; endeavouring 
to avoid the incoherence with which it is originally set forth. 

" The first aim of the writer is to show, from the brevity of the 
interval between Marie s disappearance and the finding of the 
floating corpse, that this corpse cannot be that of Marie. The 
reduction of this interval to its smallest possible dimension, 
becomes thus, at once, an object with the reasoner. In the rash 
pursuit of this object, he rushes into mere assumption at the outset. 
It is folly to suppose, he says, that the murder, if murder was 
committed on her body, could have been consummated soon 
enough to have enabled her murderers to throw the body into the 
river before midnight. "We demand at once, and very naturally, 
ivliy ? Why is it folly to suppose that the murder was committed 
ivithin five minutes after the girl s quitting her mother s house 1 
Why is it folly to suppose that the murder was committed at any 
given period of the day ] There have been assassinations at all 
hours. But, had the murder taken place at any moment between 
nine o clock in the morning of Sunday, and a quarter before mid 
night, there would still have been time enough to throw the body 
into the river before midnight. This assumption, then, amounts 
precisely to this that the murder was not committed on Sunday 
at all and, if we allow L Etoile to assume this, we may permit 
it any liberties whatever. The paragraph beginning It is folly 
to suppose that the murder, etc., however it appears as printed in 
L Etoile, may be imagined to have existed actually thus in the brain 
of its inditer It is folly to suppose that the murder, if murder 
was committed on the body, could have been committed soon 
enough to have enabled her murderers to throw the body into the 
river before midnight ; it is folly, we say, to suppose all this, 
and to suppose at the same time (as we are resolved to suppose), 
that the body was not thrown in until after midnight a sentence 
sufficiently inconsequential in itself, but not so utterly prepos 
terous as the one printed. 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 219 

" Were it my purpose," continued Dupin, " merely to make out 
a case against this passage of L Etoiles argument, I might safely 
leave it where it is. It is not, however, with L Etoile that we have 
to do, but with the truth. The sentence in question has but one 
meaning, as it stands ; and this meaning I have fairly stated : 
but it is material that we go behind the mere words for an idea 
which these words have obviously intended, and failed to convey. 
It was the design of the journalist to say that, at whatever period 
of the day or night of Sunday this murder was committed, it was 
improbable that the assassins would have ventured to bear the 
corpse to the river before midnight. And herein lies, really, the 
assumption of which I complain. It is assumed that the murder 
was committed at such a position, and under such circumstances, 
that the bearing it to the river became necessary. Now, the assas 
sination might have taken place upon the river s brink, or on the 
river itself ; and, thus, the throwing the corpse in the water might 
have been resorted to, at any period of the day or night, as the most 
obvious and most immediate mode of disposal. You will under 
stand that I suggest nothing here as probable, or as coincident 
with my own opinion. My design, so far, has no reference to the 
facts of the case. I wish merely to caution you against the whole 
tone of L Etoile s suggestion, by calling your attention to its ex 
parte character at the outset. 

" Having prescribed thus a limit to suit its own preconceived 
notions : having assumed that, if this were the body of Marie, it 
could have been in the water but a very brief time ; the journal 
goes on to say : 

" All experience has shown that drowned bodies, or bodies thrown 
into the water immediately after death by violence, require from six 
to ten days for sufficient decomposition to take place to bring them 
to the top of the water. Even when a cannon is fired over a corpse, 
and it rises before at least rive or six days immersion } it sinks again 
if let alone. 

" These assertions have been tacitly received by every paper 
in Paris, with the exception of Le Moniteur .* This latter print 
endeavours to combat that portion of the paragraph which has 
reference to drowned bodies J only, by citing some five or six 
instances in which the bodies of individuals known to be drowned 
were found floating after the lapse of less time than is insisted 

* The "N, Y. Commercial Advertiser," edited by Col. Stone. 



220 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

upon by UEtoile. But there is something excessively unphilosophi- 
cal in the attempt on the part of Le Moniteur, to rebut the general 
assertion of L Etvile, by a citation of particular instances mili 
tating against that assertion. Had it been possible to adduce 
fifty instead of five examples of bodies found floating at the end of 
two or three days, these fifty examples could still have been properly 
regarded only as exceptions to L Etoile s rule, until such time as 
the rule itself should be confuted. Admitting the rule (and this 
Le Moniteur does not deny, insisting merely upon its exceptions), 
the argument of L Etoile is suffered to remain in full force ; for 
this argument does not pretend to involve more than a question 
of the probability of the body having risen to the surface in less 
than three days; and this probability will be in favour of L Eloile s 
position until the instances so childishly adduced shall be sufficient 
in number to establish an antagonistical rule. 

" You will see at once that all argument upon this head should 
be urged, if at all, against the rule itself, and for this end we 
must examine the rationale of the rule. Now the human body, 
in general, is neither much lighter nor much heavier than the 
water of the Seine; that is to say, the specific gravity of the human 
body, in its natural condition, is about equal to the bulk of fresh 
water which it displaces. The bodies of fat and fleshy persons, 
with small bones, and of women generally, are lighter than those 
of the lean and large-boned, and of men ; and the specific gravity 
of the water of a river is somewhat influenced by the presence of 
the tide from sea. But, leaving this tide out of question, it may 
be said that very few human bodies will sink at all, even in fresh 
water, of their own accord. Almost any one, falling into a river, 
will be enabled to float, if he suffer the specific gravity of the water 
fairly to be adduced in comparison with his own that is to say, 
if he suffer his w r hole person to be immersed with as little excep 
tion as possible. The proper position for one who cannot swim, 
is the upright position of the walker on land, with the head 
thrown fully back, and immersed ; the mouth and nostrils alone 
remaining above the surface. Thus circumstanced, we shall find 
that we float without difficulty and without exertion. It is evident, 
however, that the gravities of the body, and of the bulk of water 
displaced, are very nicely balanced, and that a trifle will cause 
either to preponderate. An arm, for instance, uplifted from the 
water, and thus deprived of its support, is an additional weight 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 221 

sufficient to immerse the whole head, while the accidental aid of 
the smallest piece of timber will enable us to elevate the head so 
as to look about. Now, in the struggles of one unused to swim 
ming, the arms are invariably thrown upwards, while an attempt 
is made to keep the head in its usual perpendicular position. The 
result is the immersion of the mouth and nostrils, and the inception, 
during efforts to breathe while beneath the surface, of water into 
the lungs. Much is also received into the stomach, and the whole 
body becomes heavier by the difference between the weight of the 
air originally distending these cavities, and that of the fluid which 
now fills them. This difference is sufficient to cause the body to 
sink, as a general rule; but is insufficient in the cases of individuals 
with small bones and an abnormal quantity of flaccid or fatty 
matter. Such individuals float even after drowning. 

" The corpse, being supposed at the bottom of the river, will there 
remain until, by some means, its specific gravity again becomes less 
than that of the bulk of water which it displaces. This effect is 
brought about by decomposition, or otherwise. The result of de 
composition is the generation of gas, distending the cellular tissues 
and all the cavities, and giving the puffed appearance which is so 
horrible. When this distension has so far progressed that the bulk 
of the corpse is materially increased without a corresponding in 
crease of mass or weight, its specific gravity becomes less than that 
ef the water displaced, and it forthwith makes its appearance at 
the surface. But decomposition is modified by innumerable cir 
cumstances is hastened or retarded by innumerable agencies ; for 
example, by the heat or cold of the season, by the mineral impreg 
nation or purity of the water, by its depth or shallowness, by its 
currency or stagnation, by the temperament of the body, by its 
infection or freedom from disease before death. Thus it is evident 
that we can assign no period, with anything like accuracy, at which 
the corpse shall rise through decomposition. Under certain con 
ditions this result would be brought about within an hour ; under 
others,it might not take place at all. There are chemical infusions by 
which the animal frame can be preserved for ever from corruption; 
the bi-chloride of mercury is one. But, apart from decomposition, 
there may be, and very usually is, generation of gas within the 
stomach, from the acetous fermentation of vegetable matter (or 
within other cavities from other causes) sufficient to induce a dis 
tension which will bring the body to the surface. The effect pro- 



222 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN P0. 

duced by the firing of a cannon is that of simple vibration. This 
may either loosen the corpse from the soft mud or ooze m which 
is imbedded, thus permitting it to rise when other agencies have 
already prepared it for so doing; or it may overcome the tenacity oi 
some putrescent portions of the cellular tissue ; allowing the cavi 
ties to distend under the influence of the gas. 

" Having thus before us the whole philosophy of this subject, we 
can easily test by it the assertions of L Etoile. All experience 
shows, says this paper, that drowned bodies, or bodies thrown 
into the water immediately after death by violence, require from 
six to ten days for sufficient decomposition to take place to bring 
them to the top of the water. Even when a cannon is fired over a 
corpse, and it rises before at least five or six days immersion, it 
sinks again if let alone. 

" The whole of this paragraph must now appear a tissue of in 
consequence and incoherence. All experience does not show that 
drowned bodies require horn six to ten days for sufficient decom 
position to take place to bring them to the surface, Both science 
and experience show that the period of their rising is, and neces 
sarily must be, indeterminate. If, moreover, a body has risen to 
the surface through firing of cannon, it will not sink again if let 
alone, until decomposition has so far progressed as to permit the 
escape of the generated gas. But I wish to call your attention to the 
distinction which is made between drowned bodies, and bodies 
thrown into the water immediately after death by violence. Al 
though the writer admits the distinction, he yet includes them all 
in the same category. I have shown how it is that the body of a 
drowning man becomes specifically heavier than its bulk of water, 
and that he would not sink at all, except for the struggles by which 
he elevates his arms above the surface, and his gasps for breath 
while beneath the surface gasps which supply by water the place 
of the original air in the lungs. But these struggles and these gasps 
would not occur in the body thrown into the water immediately 
after death by violence. Thus, in the latter instance, the body, as 
a general rule, ivould not sink at all a fact of which L Etoile is 
evicfcntly ignorant. When decomposition had proceeded to a very 
great extent when the flesh had in a great measure left the bones 
then, indeed, but not till then, should we lose sight of the corpse. 
" And now what ^re we to make of the argument, that the body 
found could not be that of Marie Hoget, because three days only 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 22$ 

having elapsed, the body was found floating 1 If drowned, being a 
woman, she might never have sunk ; or having sunk, might have 
re-appeared in twenty-four hours, or less. But no one supposes her 
to have been drowned ; and, dying before being thrown into the 
river, she might have been found floating at any period afterwards 
whatever. 

" But, says L Etoile, if the body had been kept in its mangled 
state on shore until Tuesday night, some trace would be found on 
shore of the murderers. Here it is at first difficult to perceive the 
intention of the reasoner. He means to anticipate what he imagines 
would be an objection to his theory viz., that the body was kept 
on shore two days, suffering rapid decomposition more rapid than 
if immersed in water. He supposes that, had this been the case, it 
might have appeared at the surface on the Wednesday, and thinks 
that only under such circumstances it could so have appeared. He 
is accordingly in haste to show that it ivas not kept on shore ; for, 
if so, some trace would be found on shore of the murderers. I 
presume you smile at the sequitur. You cannot be made to see how 
the mere duration of the corpse on the shore could operate to mul 
tiply traces of the assassins. Nor can I. 

" And furthermore, it. is exceedingly improbable, continues our 
journal, * that any villains who had committed such a murder as is 
here supposed, would have thrown the body in without weight to 
sink it, when such a precaution could have so easily been taken. 
Observe, here, the laughable confusion of thought ! No one not 
even LEtoile disputes the murder committed on the body found. 
The marks of violence are too obvious. It is our reasoner s object 
merely to show that this body is not Marie s. He wishes to prove 
that Marie is not assassinated not that the corpse was not. Yet 
his observation proves only the latter point. Here is a corpse with 
out weight attached. Murderers, casting it in, would not have 
failed to attach a weight. Therefore it was not thrown iu by mur 
derers. This is all which is proved, if anything is. The question 
of identity is not even approached, and UEtoile has been at great 
pains merely to gainsay now what it has admitted only a moment 
before. We are perfectly convinced, it says, * that the body found 
was that of the murdered female. 

" Nor is this the sole instance, even in this division of his sub 
ject, where our reasoner unwittingly reasons against himself. His 
evident object, I have already said, is to reduce, as much as pos- 



224 WORK S OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

sible, the interval between Marie s disappearance and the finding 
of the corpse. Yet we find him urging the point that no person 
saw the girl from the moment of her leaving her mother s house. 
We have no evidence, he says, that Marie Eoget was in the land 
of the living after nine o clock on Sunday, June the twenty-second. 
As his argument is obviously an ex parte one, he should, at least, 
have left this matter out of sight ; for had anyone been known to 
see Marie, say on Monday, or on Tuesday, the interval in question 
would have been much reduced, and, by his own ratiocination, the 
probability much diminished of the corpse being that of the grisette. 
It is, nevertheless, amusing to observe that L Moile insists upon its 
point in the full belief of its furthering its general argument. 

" Reperuse now that portion of this argument which has reference 
to the identification of the corpse by Beauvais. In regard to the 
hair upon the arm, L Etoile has been obviously disingenuous. M. 
Beauvais, not being an idiot, could never have urged, in identifi 
cation of the corpse, simply hair upon its arm. No arm is ivithout 
hair. The generality of the expression of L Etoile is a mere per 
version of the witness s phraseology. He must have spoken of some 
peculiarity in this hair. It must have been a peculiarity of colour, 
of quantity, of length, or of situation. 

",Her foot, says the journal, was small so are thousands of 
feet. Her garter is no proof whatever nor is her shoe for shoes 
and garters are sold in packages. The same may be said of the 
flowers in her hat. One thing upon which M. Beauvais strongly 
insists is, that the clasp on the garter found had been set back to 
take it in. This amounts to nothing ; for most women find it 
proper to take a pair of garters home and fit them to the size of the 
limbs they are to encircle, rather than to try them in the store 
where they purchase. Here it is difficult to suppose the reasoner 
in earnest. Had M. Beauvais, in his search for the body of Marie, 
discovered a corpse corresponding in general size and appearance 
to the missing girl, he would have been warranted (without refer 
ence to the question of habiliment at all) in forming an opinion 
that his search had been successful. If, in addition to the point 
of general size and contour, he had found upon the arm a peculiar 
hairy appearance which he had observed upon the living Marie, his 
opinion might have been justly strengthened ; and the increase of 
positiveness might well have been in the ratio of the peculiarity, or 
unusualness, of the hairy mark. If, the feet of Marie being small, 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 225 

those of the corpse were also small, the increase of probability that 
the body was that of Marie would not be an increase in a ratio 
merely arithmetical, but in one highly geometrical, or accumulative. 
Add to all this shoes such as she had been known to wear upon the 
day of her disappearance, and, although these shoes may be sold 
in packages/ you so far augment the probability as to verge upon 
the certain. What, of itself, would be no evidence of identity, 
becomes through its corroborative position, proof most sure. Give 
us, then, flowers in the hat corresponding to those worn by the 
missing girl, and we seek for nothing farther. If only one flower, 
we seek for nothing farther what then if two or three, or more ? 
Each successive one is multiple evidence proof not added to proof, 
but multiplied by hundreds or thousands. Let us now discover, 
upon the deceased, garters such as the living used, and it is almost 
folly to proceed. But these garters are found to be tightened, by 
the setting back of a clasp, in just such a manner as her own had 
been tightened by Marie shortly previous to her leaving home. It 
is now madness or hypocrisy to doubt. What EEtoile says in re 
spect to this abbreviation of the garters being an usual occurrence, 
shows nothing beyond its own pertinacity in error. The elastic 
nature of the clasp-garter is self-demonstration of the unusualness 
of the abbreviation. What is made to adjust itself, must of neces 
sity require foreign adjustment but rarely. It must have been by 
an accident, in its strictest sense, that these garters of Marie needed 
the tightening described. They alone would have amply established 
her identity. But it is not that the corpse was found to have the 
garters of the missing girl, or found to have her shoes, or her bon 
net, or the flowers of her bonnet, or her feet, or a peculiar mark 
upon the arm, or her general size and appearance it is that the 
corpse had each and all collectively. Could it be proved that the 
editor of EEtoile really entertained a doubt, under the circum 
stances, there would be no need, in his case, of a commission de 
lunatico inquirendo. He has thought it sagacious to echo the small- 
talk of the lawyers, who, for the most part, content themselves with 
echoing the rectangular precepts of the courts. I would here observe 
that very much of what is rejected as evidence by a court, is the 
best of evidence to the intellect. For the court, guiding itself by 
the general principles of evidence the recognised and looked prin 
ciplesis averse from swerving at particular instances. And this 
steadfast adherence to principle, with rigorous disregard of the 

15 



226 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

conflicting exception, is a sure mode of attaining the maximum of 
attainable truth, in any long sequence of time. The practice, en 
mass, is therefore philosophical ; but it is not the less certain that 
it engenders vast individual error.* 

"In respect to the insinuations levelled at Beauvais, you will bo 
willing to dismiss them in a breath. You have already fathomed 
tlie true character of this good gentleman. He is a busybody, with 
much of romance and little of wit. Anyone so constituted will 
readily so conduct himself, upon occasion of real excitement, as to 
render himself liable to suspicion on the part of the over-acute, or 
the ill-disposed. M. Beauvais (as it appears from your note*) had 
some personal interviews with the editor of L Etoik, and offended 
him by venturing an opinion that the corpse, notwithstanding the 
theory of the editor, was, in sober fact, that of Marie. He persists/ 
says the paper, * in asserting the corpse to be that of Marie, but 
cannot give a circumstance, in addition to those which we have 
commented upon, to make others believe. Now, without re-ad 
verting to the fact that stronger evidence to make others believe, 
could never have been adduced, it may be remarked that a man 
may very well be understood to believe, in a case of this kind, 
without the ability to advance a single reason for the belief of a 
second party. Nothing is more vague than impressions of indi 
vidual identity. Each man recognizes his neighbour, yet there are 
few instances in which anyone is prepared to give a reason for his 
recognition. The editor of EEtoile had no right to be offended at 
M. Beauvais unreasoning belief. 

" The suspicious circumstances which invest him will be found 
to tally much better with my hypothesis of romantic busybodyism, 
than with the reasoner s suggestion of guilt. Once adopting the 
more charitable interpretation, we shall find no difficulty in com 
prehending the rose in the key-hole ; the Marie upon the slate ; 
the elbowing the male relatives out of the way; the * aversion to 
permitting them to see the body / the caution given to Madame 

* "A theory based on the qualities of an object, will prevent its being 
unfolded according to its objects ; and he who arranges topics in refer 
ence to their causes, will cease to value them according to their results. 
Thus the jurisprudence of every nation will show that, when law becomes 
a science and a system, it ceases to be justice. The errors into which a 
blind devotion to principles of classification has led the common law, will 
be seen by observing how often the legislature has been obliged to come 
forward to restore the equity its scheme had lost." L/anclor. 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 227 

B , that she must hold no conversation with the gendarme until 

his return (Beauvais ) ; and, lastly, his apparent determination that 
nobody should have anything to do with the proceedings except 
himself. It seems to me unquestionable that Beauvais was a suitor 
of Marie s ; that she coquetted with him ; and that he was ambitious 
of being thought to enjoy her fullest intimacy and confidence. I 
shall say nothing more upon this point ; and, as the evidence fully 
rebuts the assertion of LEtoile^ touching the matter of apathy on 
the part of the mother and other relatives an apathy inconsistent 
with the supposition of their believing the corpse to be that of the 
perfumery-girl we shall now proceed as if the question of identity 
were settled to our perfect satisfaction." 

" And what," I here demanded, " do you think of the opinions 
of Le Commerciel?^ 

" That, in spirit, they are far more worthy of attention than any 
which have been promulgated upon the subject. The deductions 
from the premises are philosophical and acute ; but the premises, 
in two instances, at least, are founded in imperfect observation. 
Le Commerciel wishes to intimate that Marie was seized by some 
gang of low ruffians not far from her mother s door. It is impos 
sible/ it urges, that a person so well known to thousands as this 
young woman was, should have passed three blocks without some 
one having seen her. This is the idea of a man long resident in 
Paris a public man and one whose walks to and fro in the city 
have been mostly limited to the vicinity of the public offices. He 
is aware that he seldom passes so far as a dozen blocks from his 
own bicreau, without being recognized and accosted. And, know 
ing the extent of his personal acquaintance with others, and of 
others with him, he compares his notoriety with that of the per 
fumery-girl, finds no great difference between them, and reaches at 
once the conclusion that she, in her walks, would be equally liable 
to recognition with himself in his. This could only be the case 
were her walks of the same unvarying, methodical character and 
within the same species of limited region as are his own. He passes 
to and fro, at regular intervals, within a confined periphery, abound 
ing in individuals who are led to observation of his person through 
interest in the kindred nature of his occupation with their own. 
But the walks of Marie may, in general, be supposed discursive. 
In this particular instance, it will be understood as most probable, 
that she proceeded upon a route of more than average diversity 

152 



228 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

from her accustomed ones. The parallel which we imagine to have 
existed in the mind of Le Commerciel would only be sustained in 
the event of the two individuals traversing the whole city. In this 
case, granting the personal acquaintances to be equal, the chances 
would be also equal that an equal number of personal rencounters 
would be made. For my own part, I should hold it not only as 
possible, but as very far more than probable, that Marie might have 
proceeded, at any given period, by any one of the many routes 
between her own residence and that of her aunt, without meeting 
a single individual whom she knew, or by whom she was known. 
In viewing this question in its full and proper light, we must hold 
steadily in mind the great disproportion between the personal ac 
quaintances of even the most noted individual in Paris, and the 
entire population of Paris itself. 

" But whatever force there may still appear to be in the sug 
gestion of Le Commerciel, will be much diminished when we take 
into consideration the hour at which the girl went abroad. It was 
when the streets were full of people, says Le Commerciel, that 
she went out. But not so. It was at nine o clock in the morning. 
Now at nine o clock of every morning in the week, with the exception 
of Sunday, the streets of the city are, it is true, thronged with people. 
At nine on Sunday, the populace are chiefly within doors preparing 
for church. No observing person can have failed to notice the 
peculiarly deserted air of the town, from about eight until ten on 
the morning of every Sabbath. Between ten and eleven the streets 
are thronged, but riot at so early a period as that designated. 

" There is another point at which there seems a deficiency of 
observation on the part of Le Commerciel. * A piece, it says, of 
one of the unfortunate girl s petticoats, two feet long, and one foot 
wide, was torn out and tied under her chin, and around the back of 
her head, probably to prevent screams. This was done by fellows 
who had no pocket-handkerchiefs. Whether this idea is, or is not 
well founded, we will endeavour to see hereafter ; but by fellows 
who have no pocket-handkerchiefs, the editor intends the lowest 
class of ruffians. These, however, are the very description of 
people who will always be found to have handkerchiefs even when 
destitute of shirts. You must have had occasion to observe how 
absolutely indispensable, of late years, to the thorough black 
guard, has become the pocket-handkerchief." 

"And what are we to think," I asked, "of the article in Le 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 229 

"That it is a vast pity its inditer was not born a parrot in 
which case he would have been the most illustrious parrot of his 
race. He has merely repeated the individual items of the already 
published opinion ; collecting them, with a laudable industry, from 
this paper and from that. The things had all evidently been 
there, he says at least three or four weeks, and there can be no 
doubt that the spot of this appalling outrage has been discovered/ 
The facts here re-stated by Le Soliel, are veiy far indeed from re 
moving my own doubts upon this subject, and we will examine 
them more particularly hereafter in connexion with another division 
of the theme. 

"At present we must occupy ourselves with other investiga 
tions. You cannot fail to have remarked the extreme laxity cS the 
examination of the corpse. To be sure the question of identity 
was readily determined, or should have been ; but there were other 
points to be ascertained. Had the body been in any respect 
despoiled ? Had the deceased any articles of jewelry about her 
person upon leaving home *? if so, had she any when found 1 These 
are important questions utterly untouched by the evidence ; and 
there are others of equal moment, which have met with no atten 
tion. We must endeavour to satisfy ourselves by personal inquiry. 
The case of St. Eustache must be re-examined. I have no sus 
picion of this person ; but let us proceed methodically. We will 
ascertain beyond a doubt the validity of the affidavits in regard to 
his whereabouts on the Sunday. Affidavits of this character are 
readily made matter of mystification. Should there be nothing 
wrong here, however, we will dismiss St. Eustache from our in 
vestigations. His suicide, however corroborative of suspicion, 
were there found to be deceit in the affidavits, is, without such 
deceit, in no respect an unaccountable circumstance, or one which 
need cause us to deflect from the line of ordinary analysis. 

" In that which I now propose, we will discard the interior points 
of this tragedy, and concentrate our attention upon its outskirts. 
Not the least usual error, in investigations such as this, is the 
limiting of inquiry to the immediate, with total disregard of the 
collateral or circumstantial events. It is the mal-practice of the 
courts to confine evidence and discussion to the bounds of apparent 
relevancy. Yet experience has shown, and a true philosophy will 
always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger portion of truth, arises 
from the seemingly irrelevant. It is through the spirit of this 



230 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

principle, if not precisely through its letter, that modern science 
resolved to calculate upon the unforeseen. But perhaps you do not 
comprehend me. The history of human knowledge has so unin 
terruptedly shown that to collateral, or incidental, or accidental 
events we are indebted for the most numerous and most valuable 
discoveries, that it has at length become necessary, in any pro 
spective view of improvement, to make not only large, but the 
largest allowances for inventions that shall arise by chance, and 
quite out of the range of ordinary expectation. It is no longer 
philosophical to base, upon what has been, a vision of what is to 
be. Accident is admitted as a portion of the substructure. We 
make chance a matter of absolute calculation. We subject the 
unlocked for and unimagined, to the mathematical formula? of 
the schools. 

" I repeat that it is no more than fact, that the larger portion of 
all truth has sprung from the collateral ; and it is but in accord 
ance with the spirit of the principle involved in this fact, that I 
would divert inquiry, in the present case, from the trodden and 
hitherto unfruitful ground of the event itself, to the cotemporary 
circumstances which surround it. While you ascertain the validity 
of the affidavits, I will examine the newspapers more generally 
than you have as yet done. So far, we have only reconnoitred the 
field of investigation ; but it will be strange indeed if a compre 
hensive survey, such as I propose, of the public prints, will not 
afford us some minute points which shall establish a direction for 
inquiry." 

In pursuance of Dupin s suggestions, I made scrupulous exam 
ination of the affair of the affidavits. The result was a firm con 
viction of their validity, and of the consequent innocence of St. 
Eustache. In the meantime my friend occupied himself, with 
what seemed to me a minuteness altogether objectless, in a scrutiny 
of the various newspaper files. At the end of a week he placed 
before me the following extracts : 

"About three years and a half ago, a disturbance very similar to the 
present was caused by the disappearance of this same Marie Eoget, 
from the parfumerie of Monsieur Le Blanc in the Palais Royal. At the 
end of a week, however, she re-appeared at her customary comptoir, as 
well as ever, with the exception of a slight paleness not altogether usual. 
It was given out by Monsieur Le Blanc and her mother, that she had 
merely been on a visit to some friend in the country ; and the affair 
was speedily hushed up. We presume that the present absence is a 
freak of the same nature, and that, at the. expiration of a week, or per- 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 231 

haps of a month, we shall have her among us again." Evening Paper 
Monday, June 23. * 

"An evening journal of yesterday, refers to a former mysterious dis 
appearance of Mademoiselle Koget. It is well known that, during the 
week of her absence from Le Blanc s parfumerie, she was in the company 
of a young naval officer, much noted for his debaucheries. A quarrel, it 
is supposed, providentially led to her return home. We have the name 
of the Lothario in question, who is, at present, stationed in Paris, but, 
for obvious reasons, forbear to make it public." Le Mercurie Tuesday 
Morning, June 24. f 

"An outrage of the most atrocious character was perpetrated near 
this city the day before yesterday. A gentleman, with his wife and 
daughter, engaged about dusk the services of six young men, who were 
idly rowing a boat to and fro near the banks of the Seine, to convey 
him across the river. Upon reaching the opposite shore, the three 
passengers stepped out, and had proceeded so far as to be beyond the 
view of the boat, when the daughter discovered that she had left in it 
her parasol. She returned for it, was seized by the gang, carried out 
into the stream, gagged, brutally treated, and finally taken to the shore 
at a point not far from that at which she had originally entered the 
boat with her parents. The villains have escaped for the time, but tho 
police are upon their trail, and some of them will soon be taken. "- 
Morning Paper June 25. t 

" We have received one or two communications, the object of which 
is to fasten the crime of the late atrocity upon Mennais ; but as this 
gentleman has been fully exonerated by a legal inquiry, and as the argu 
ments of our several correspondents appear to be more zealous than pro 
found, we do not think it advisable to make them public." Morning 
Paper June 28. || 

" We have received several forcibly written communications, appar 
ently from various sources, and which go far to render it a matter of 
certainty that the unfortunate Marie Rog6t has become a victim of one 
of the numerous bands of blackguards which infest the vicinity of the 
city upon Sunday. Our own opinion is decidedly in favour of this sup 
position. We shall endeavour to make room for some of these argu 
ments hereafter." Evening Paper Tuesday, June 31. If 

"On Monday, one of the bargeman connected with the revenue 
service, saw an empty boat floating down the Seine. Sails were lying 
in the bottom of the boat. The bargemen towed it under the barge 
office. The next morning it was taken from thence, without the knowledge 
of any of the officers. The rudder is now at the barge office." Le 
Diligence Thursday, June 2G.** 

Upon reading these various extracts, they not only seemed to me 
irrelevant, but I could perceive no mode in which any one of them 

* "N.Y. Express." t "N.Y. Herald." 

J "N.Y. Courier and Inquirer." 

"Mennais was one of the parties originally suspected and arrested, 
but discharged through total lack of evidence. 
|| "N.Y. Courier and Inquirer." 
H "N.Y. Evening Post." ** "N.Y, Standard." 



232 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

could be brought to bear upon the matter in hand. 1 waited for 
some explanation from Dupin. 

" It is not my present design," he said, " to dwell upon the first 
and second of these extracts. I have copied them chiefly to show 
you the extreme remissness of the police, who, as far as I can un 
derstand from the Prefect, have not troubled themselves, in any 
respect, with an examination of the naval officer alluded to. Yet 
it is mere folly to say that between the first and second disappear 
ance of Marie, there is no supposahle connection. Let us admit 
the first elopement to have resulted in a quarrel between the lovers, 
and the return home of the betrayed. We are now prepared to 
view a second elopement (if we know that an elopement has again 
taken place) as indicating a renewal of the betrayer s advances, 
rather than as the result of new proposals by a second indi 
vidual we are prepared to regard it as a * making up of the old 
amour, rather than as the commencement of a new one. The 
chances are ten to one, that he who had once eloped with Marie, 
would again propose an elopement, rather than that she to whom 
proposals of elopement had been made by one individual, should 
have them made to her by another. And here let me call your 
attention to the fact, that the time elapsing between the first ascer 
tained, and the second supposed elopement, is a few months more 
than the general period of the cruises of our men-of-war. Had the 
lover been interrupted in his first villany by the necessity of depar 
ture to sea, and had he seized the first moment of his return to 
renew the base designs not yet altogether accomplished or not yet 
altogether accomplished ~by him 2 Of all these things we know 
nothing. 

" You will say, however, that, in the second instance, there was 
no elopement as imagined. Certainly not but are we prepared to 
say that there was not the frustrated design ? Beyond St. Eustache, 
and perhaps Beauvais, we find no recognized, no open, no honour 
able suitors of Marie. Of none other is there anything said. Who, 
then, is the secret lover, of whom the relatives (at least most of 
them] know nothing, but whom Marie meets upon the morning of 
Sunday, and who is so deeply in her confidence, that she hesitates 
not to remain with him until the shades of the evening descend, 
amid the solitary groves of the Barriere du Boule 1 Who is that 
secret lover, I ask, of whom at least, most of the relatives know 
nothing] And what means the singular prophecy of Madame 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 233 

Eoget on the morning of Marie s departure 1 I fear that I shall 
never see Marie again/ 

" But if we cannot imagine Madame Roget privy to the design 
of elopement, may we not at least suppose this design entertained 
by the girl ? Upon quitting home, she gave it to be understood 
that she was about to visit her aunt in the Rue des Dromes, and 
St. Eustache was requested to call for her at dark. Now, at first 
glance, this fact strongly militates against my suggestion ; but let 
us reflect. That she did meet some companion, and proceed with 
him across the river, reaching the Barriere du Roule at so Lite an 
hour as three o clock in the afternoon, is known. But in consent 
ing so to accompany this individual, (for ivJiatever purpose to her 
mother known or unknown?) she must have thought of her expressed 
intention when leaving home, and of the surprise and suspicion 
aroused in the bosom of her affianced suitor, St. Eustache, when, 
calling for her, at the hour appointed, in the Rue des Dromes, he 
should find that she had not been there, and when, moreover, upon 
returning to the pension with this alarming intelligence, he should 
become aware of her continued absence from home. She must 
have thought of these things, I say. She must have foreseen the 
chagrin of St. Eustache, the suspicion of all. She could not have 
thought of returning to brave this suspicion ; but the suspicion 
becomes a point of trivial importance to her, if we suppose her not 
intending to return. 

" We may imagine her thinking thus I am to meet a certain 
person for the purpose of elopement, or for certain other purposes 
known only to myself. It is necessary that there be no chance of 
interruption there must be sufficient time given us to elude pur 
suit I will give it to be understood that I shall visit and spend 
the day with my aunt at the Rue des Dromes I will tell St. 
Eustache not to call for me until dark in this way, my absence 
from home for the longest possible period, without causing suspi 
cion or anxiety, will be accounted for, and I shall gain more time 
than in any other manner. If I bid St. Eustache call for me at 
dark, he will be sure not to call before ; but, if I wholly neglect to 
bid him call, my time for escape will be diminished, since it will 
be expected that I return the earlier, and my absence will the 
sooner excite anxiety. Now, if it were my design to return at all 
if I had in contemplation merely a stroll with the individual in 
question it would not be my policy to bid St. Eustache call ; for, 



234 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN P0. 

calling he will be sure to ascertain that I have played him 
false a fact of which I might keep him for ever in ignorance, by 
leaving home without notifying him of my intention, by returning 
before dark, and by then stating that I had been to visit my aunt 
in the Rue des Dromes. But, as it is my design never to return 
or not for some weeks or not until certain concealments are effected 
the gaining of time is the only point about which I need give 
myself any concern. 

" You have observed, in your notes, that the most general opinion 
in relation to this sad affair is, and was from the first, that the girl 
had been the victim of a gang of blackguards. Now, the popular 
opinion, under certain-conditions, is not to be disregarded. When 
arising of itself when manifesting itself in a strictly spontaneous 
manner we should look upon it as analogous with that intuition 
which is the idiosyncrasy of the individual man of genius. In 
ninety-nine cases from the hundred I would abide by its decision. 
But it is important that we find no palpable traces of suggestion. 
The opinion must be rigorously the 2niblic s own; and the distinction 
is often exceedingly difficult to perceive and to maintain. In the 
present instance, it appears to me that this public opinion, in re 
spect to a gang, has been superinduced by the collateral event which 
is detailed in the third of my extracts. All Paris is excited by the 
discovered corpse of Marie, a girl young, beautiful, and notorious. 
This corpse is found, bearing marks of violence, and floating in the 
river. But it is now made known that, at the very period, or about 
the very period, in which it is supposed that the girl was assassinated, 
an outrage similar in nature to that endured by the deceased, 
although less in extent, was perpetrated, by a gang of young ruf 
fians, upon the person of a second young female. Is it wonderful 
that the one known atrocity should influence the popular judgment 
in regard to the other unknown ? This judgment awaited direction, 
and the known outrage seemed so opportunely to afford it ? Marie, 
too, was found in the river ; and upon this very river was this 
known outrage committed. The connexion of the two events had 
about it so much of the palpable, that the true wonder would have 
been & failure of the populace to appreciate and to seize it. But, 
in fact, the one atrocity, known to be so committed, is, if anything, 
evidence that the other, committed at a time nearly coincident, was 
not so committed. It would have been a miracle indeed, if, while 
a gang of ruffians were perpetrating, at a given locality, a most 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 23$ 

unheard-of wrong, there should have been another similar gang, in 
a similar locality, in the same city, under the same circumstances, 
with the same means and appliances, engaged in a wrong of pre 
cisely the same aspect, at precisely the same period of time ! Yet 
in what, if not in this marvellous train of coincidence, does the ac 
cidentally suggested opinion of the populace call upon us to believe 1 ? 

" Before proceeding farther, let us consider the supposed scene 
of the assassination, in the thicket at the Barriere du Roule. This 
thicket, although dense, was in the close vicinity of a public road. 
Within were three or four large stones, forming a kind of seat, with 
a back and footstool. On the upper stone was discovered a white 
petticoat ; on the second, a silk scarf. A parasol, gloves, and a 
pocket-handkerchief, were also here found. The handkerchief bore 
the name, Marie Roget. Fragments of dress were seen on the 
branches around. The earth was trampled, the bushes were broken, 
and there was every evidence of a violent struggle. 

" Notwithstanding the acclamation with which the discovery of 
this thicket was received by the press, and the unanimity with 
which it was supposed to indicate the precise scene of the outrage, 
it must be admitted that there was some very good reason for 
doubt. That it luas the scene, I may or I may not believe but 
there was excellent reason for doubt. Had the true scene been, as 
Le Commerciel suggested, in the neighbourhood of the Rue Pavee 
St. Andree, the perpetrators of the crime, supposing them still 
resident in Paris, would naturally have been stricken with terror 
at the public attention thus acutely directed into the proper chan 
nel ; and, in certain classes of minds, there would have arisen, at 
once, a sense of the necessity of some exertion to redivert this atten 
tion. And thus, the thicket of the Barriere du Roule having been 
already suspected, the idea of placing the articles where they were 
found, might have been naturally entertained. There is no real 
evidence, although Le Soldi so supposes, that the articles discovered 
had been more than a very few days in the thicket ; while there is 
much circumstantial proof that they could not have remained 
there, without attracting attention, during the twenty days elapsing 
between the fatal Sunday and the afternoon upon which they were 
found by the boys. * They were all mildewed down hard, says Le 
Soleil, adopting the opinions of its predecessors, * with the action 
of the rain, and stuck together from mildew. The grass had grown 
around and over some of them. The silk of the parasol was strong, 



236 WORK S OF EDGAR ALLAN POM. 

but the threads of it were run together within. The upper part, 
where it had been doubled and folded, was all mildewed and rotten, 
and tore on being opened. 7 In respect to the grass having * grown 
around and over some of them, it is obvious that the fact could 
only have been ascertained from the words, and thus from the re 
collections, of two small boys ; for these boys removed the articles 
and took them home before they had been seen by a third party. 
But grass will grow, especially in warm and damp weather (such 
as was that of the period of the murder), as much as two or three 
inches in a single day. A parasol lying upon a newly turfed ground, 
might, in a single week, be entirely concealed from sight by the up- 
springing grass. And touching that mildew upon which the editor 
of Le Soleil so pertinaciously insists, that he employs the word no 
less than three times in the brief paragraph just quoted, is he really 
unaware of the nature of this mildew ? Is he to be told that it is one 
of the many classes of fungus, of which the most ordinary feature 
is its upspringing and decadence within twenty-four hours 1 

" Thus we see, at a glance, that what has been most triumphantly 
adduced in support of the idea that the articles had been for at 
least three or four weeks in the thicket, is most absurdly null as 
regards any evidence of that fact. On the other hand, it is exceed 
ingly difficult to believe that these articles could have remained in 
the thicket specified, for a longer period than a single week for a 
longer period than from one Sunday to the next. Those who know 
anything of the vicinity of Paris, know the extreme difficulty of 
finding seclusion unless at a great distance from its suburbs. Such 
a thing as an unexplored, or even an unfrequently visited recess, 
amid its woods or groves, is not for a moment to be imagined. Let 
anyone who, being at heart a lover of nature, is yet chained by duty 
to the dust and heat of this great metropolis let any such one 
attempt, even during the week-days, to slake his thirst for solitude 
amid the scenes of natural loveliness which immediately surround 
us. At every second step, he will find the growing charm dispelled 
by the voice and personal intrusion of some ruffian or party of car 
ousing blackguards. He will seek privacy amid the densest foliage, 
all in vain. Here are the very nooks where the unwashed most 
abound here are the temples most desecrate. With sickness of the 
heart the wanderer will flee back to the polluted Paris as to a less 
odious because less incongruous sink of pollution. But if the 
vicinity of the city is so beset during the working days of the week, 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 237 

how much more so on the Sabbath ! It is now especially that, 
released from the claims of labour, or deprived of the customary 
opportunities of crime, the town blackguard seeks the precincts of 
the town, not through love of the rural, which in his heart he de 
spises, but by way of escape from the restraints and conventionalities 
of society. He desires less the fresh air and the green trees, than 
the utter license of the country. Here, at the road-side inn, or be 
neath the foliage of the woods, he indulges, unchecked by any eye 
except those of his boon companions, in all the mad excess of a 
counterfeit hilarity the joint offspring of liberty and of rum. I say 
nothing more than what must be obvious to every dispassionate ob 
server, when I repeat that the circumstance of the articles in ques 
tion having remained undiscovered, for a longer period than from 
one Sunday to another, in any thicket in the immediate neighbour 
hood of Paris, is to be looked upon as little less than miraculous. 

" But there are not wanting other grounds for the suspicion that 
the articles were placed in the thicket with the view of diverting 
attention from the real scene of the outrage. And, first, let me 
direct your notice to the date of the discovery of the articles. Col 
late this with the date of the fifth extract made by myself from the 
newspapers. You will find that the discovery followed, almost 
immediately, the urgent communications sent to the evening paper. 
These communications, although various, and apparently from 
various sources, tended all to the same point viz., the directing of 
attention to a gang as the perpetrators of the outrage, and to the 
neighbourhood of the Barriere du Roule as its scene. Now here, of 
course, the suspicion is not that, in consequence of these communi 
cations, or of the public attention by them directed, the articles 
were found by the boys ; but the suspicion might and may well 
have been, that the articles were not before found by the boys, for 
the reason that the articles had not before been in the thicket ; 
having been deposited there only at so late a period as at the date, 
or shortly prior to the date of the communications, by the guilty 
authors of these communications themselves. 

" This thicket was a singular an exceedingly singular one. It 
was unusually dense. Within its naturally walled enclosure were 
three extraordinary stones, forming a seat ivith a back and footstool. 
And this thicket, so full of a natural art, was in the immediate 
vicinity, within a few rods, of the dwelling of Madame Deluc, whose 
boys were in the habit of closely examining the shrubberies about 



238 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

them in search of the bark of the sassafras. Would it be a rash 
wager a wager of one thousand to one that a day never passed 
over the heads of these boys without finding at least one of them 
ensconced in the umbrageous hall, and enthroned upon its natural 
throne 1 Those who would hesitate at such a wager, have either 
never been boys themselves, or have forgotten the boyish nature. 
I repeat it is exceedingly hard to comprehend how the articles 
could have remained in this thicket, undiscovered, for a longer 
period than one or two days; and that thus there is good ground for 
suspicion, in spite of the dogmatic ignorance of Le Soldi, that they 
were, at a comparatively late date, deposited where found; 

" But there are still other and stronger reasons for believing them 
so deposited, than any which I have as yet urged. And, now, let 
me beg your notice to the highly artificial arrangement of the arti 
cles. On the tipper stone lay a white petticoat ; on the second a 
silk scarf ; scattered around, were a parasol, gloves, and a pocket- 
handkerchief bearing the name, Marie Koget. Here is just such 
an arrangement as would naturally be made by a not-over-acute 
person wishing to dispose the articles naturally. But it is by no 
means a really natural arrangement. I should rather have looked 
to see the things all lying on the ground and trampled under foot. 
In the narrow limits of that bower, it would have been scarcely 
possible that the petticoat and scarf should have retained a posi 
tion upon the stones, when subjected to the brushing to and fro of 
many struggling persons. There was evidence, it is said, of a 
struggle ; and the earth was trampled, the bushes were broken, 
but the petticoat and scarf are found deposited as if upon shelves. 
1 The pieces of the frock torn out by the bushes were about three 
inches wide and six inches long. One part was the hem of the 
frock and it had been mended. They looked like strips torn o/. 
Here, inadvertently, Le Soleil has employed an exceedingly sus 
picious phrase. The pieces, as described, do indeed look like strips 
torn off ; but purposely and by hand. It is one of the rarest of 
accidents that a piece is * torn off/ from any garment such as is 
now in question, by the agency of a thorn. From the very nature 
of such fabrics, a thorn or nail becoming entangled in them, tears 
them rectangularly divides them into two longitudinal rents, at 
right angles with each other, and meeting at an apex where the 
thorn enters but it is scarcely possible to conceive the piece torn 
off. I never so knew it, nor did you. To tear a piece off from 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 239 

such fabric, two distinct forces, in different directions, will be, in 
almost every case, required. If there be two edges to the fabric 
if, for example, it be a pocket-handkerchief, and it is desired to 
tear from it a slip, then, and then only will the one force serve the 
purpose. But in the present case the question is of a dress, pre 
senting but one edge. To tear a piece from the interior, where no 
edge is presented, could only be effected by a miracle through the 
agency of thorns, and no one thorn could accomplish it. But, even 
where an edge is presented, two thorns will be necessary, operating, 
the one in two distinct directions, and the other in one. And this 
in the supposition that the edge is unhemmed. If hemmed, the 
matter is nearly out of the question. We thus see the numerous 
and great obstacles in the way of pieces being * torn off through 
the simple agency of thorns ; yet we are required to believe not 
only that one piece but that many have been so torn. * And one 
part/ too, * was the hem of the frock / Another piece was part 
of the skirt, not the hem] that is to say, was torn completely out, 
through the agency of thorns, from the unedged interior of the 
dress ! These, I say, are things which one may well be pardoned 
for disbelieving ; yet, taken collectedly, they form, perhaps, less of 
reasonable ground for suspicion, than the one startling circumstance 
of the articles having been left in this thicket at all, by any mur 
derers who had enough precaution to think of removing the corpse. 
You will not have apprehended me rightly, however, if you suppose 
it my design to deny this thicket as the scene of the outrage. There 
might have been a wrong here, or, more possibly, an accident at 
Madame Deluc s. But, in fact, this is a point of minor importance, 
We are not engaged in an attempt to discover the scene, but to 
produce the perpetrators of the murder. What I have adduced, 
notwithstanding the minuteness with which I have adduced it, has 
been with the view, first, to show the folly of the positive and head 
long assertions of Le Soleil, but secondly and chiefly, to bring you, 
by the most natural route, to a further contemplation of the doubt 
whether this assassination has, or has not, been the work of a 
gang. 

" We will resume this question by mere allusion to the revolting 
details of the surgeon examined at the inquest. It is only necessary 
to say that his published inferences, in regard to the number of the 
rtiflians, have been properly ridiculed as unjust and totally base 
less, by all the reputable anatomists of Paris. Not that the 



240 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

matter might not have been as inferred, but that there was no 
ground for the inference : was there not much for another 1 

" Let us reflect now upon the traces of a struggle ; and let me 
ask what these traces have been supposed to demonstrate. A gang. 
But do they not rather demonstrate the absence of a gang ] What 
struggle could have taken place what struggle so violent and so 
enduring as to have left its traces in all directions between a 
weak and defenceless girl and the gang of ruffians imagined 1 The 
silent grasp of a few rough arms and all would have been over, 
the victim must have been absolutely passive at their will. You 
will here bear in mind that the arguments urged against the thicket 
as the scene, are applicable, in chief part, only against it as the scene 
of an outrage committed by more than a single individual. If we 
imagine but one violator, we can conceive, and thus only conceive, 
the struggle of so violent and so obstinate a nature as to have 
left the traces apparent. 

"And again. I have already mentioned the suspicion to be 
excited by the fact that the articles in question were suffered to 
remain at all in the thicket where discovered. It seems almost 
impossible that these evidences of guilt should have been acciden 
tally left where found. There was sufficient presence of mind (it 
is supposed) to remove the corpse ] and yet a more positive evidence 
than the corpse itself (whose features might have been quickly 
obliterated by decay,) is allowed to lie conspicuously in the scene 
of the outrage I allude to the handkerchief with the name of the 
deceased. If this was accident, it was not the accident of a gang. 
We can imagine it only the accident of an individual. Let us see. 
An individual has committed the murder. He is alone with the 
ghost of the departed. He is appalled by what lies motionless 
before him. The fury of his passion is over, and there is abundant 
room in his heart for the natural awe of the deed. His is none of 
that confidence which the presence of numbers inevitably inspires. 
He is alone with the dead. He trembles and is bewildered. Yet 
there is a necessity for disposing of the corpse. He bears it to the 
river, but leaves behind him the other evidences of guilt ; for it is 
difficult, if not impossible to carry all the burden at once, and it 
will be easy to return for what is left. But in his toilsome journey 
to the water his fears redouble within him. The sounds of life 
encompass his path. A dozen times he hears or fancies the step 
of an observer. Even the very lights from the city bewilder him. 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 



241 



Yet, in time, and by long and frequent pauses of deep agony, he 
reaches the river s brink, and disposes of;his ghastly charge perhaps 
through the medium of a boat. But now what treasure does tho 
world hold what threat of vengeance could it hold out which 
would have power to urge the return of that lonely murderer over 
that toilsome and perilous path, to the thicket and its blood- 
chilling recollections 1 He returns not, let the consequences be 
what they may. He could not return if he would. His sole 
thought is immediate escape. He turns his back for ever upon 
those dreadful shrubberies, and flees as from the wrath to come. 

" But how with a gang ] Their number would have inspired 
them with confidence ; if, indeed, confidence is ever wanting in 
the breast of the arrant blackguard ; and of arrant blackguards 
alone are the supposed gangs ever constituted. Their number, I 
say, would have prevented the bewildering and unreasoning terror 
which I have imagined to paralyze the single man. Could we 
suppose an oversight in one, or two, or three, this oversight would 
have been remedied by a fourth. They would have left nothing 
behind them ; for their number would have enabled them to carry 
all at once. There would have been no need of return. 

" Consider now the circumstance that, in the outer garment of 
the corpse when found, a slip, about a foot wide, had been torn 
upward from the bottom hem to the waist, wound three times round 
the waist, and secured by a sort of hitch in the back. This was 
done with the obvious design of affording a handle by which to 
carry the body. But would any number of men have dreamed of 
resorting to such an expedient 1 To three or four, the limbs of the 
corpse would have afforded not only a sufficient, but the best 
possible hold. The device is that of a single individual ; and this 
brings us to the fact that between the thicket and the river, the 
rails of the fences were found taken down, and the ground bore 
evident traces of some heavy burden having been dragged along 
it ! But would a number of men have put themselves to the 
superfluous trouble of taking down a fence, for the purpose of 
dragging through it a corpse which they might have lifted over any 
fence in an instant 1 Would a number of men have so dragged 
a corpse at all as to have left evident traces of the dragging 1 

"And here we must refer to an observation of Le Commerciel; 
an observation upon which I have already, in some measure, com 
mented. A piece, says this journal, of one of the unfortunate 

16 



242 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

girl s petticoats was torn out and tied under her chin, and around 
the back of her head, probably to prevent screams. This was 
done by fellows who had no pocket-handkerchiefs. 

" I have before suggested that a genuine blackguard is never 
wthout a pocket-handkerchief. But it is not to this fact that I 
now especially advert. That it was not through want of a hand 
kerchief for the purpose imagined by Le Commerciel, that this 
bandage was employed, is rendered apparent by the handkerchief 
left in the thicket ; and that the object was not * to prevent screams 
appears, also, from the bandage having been employed in prefer 
ence to what would so much better have answered the purpose. 
But the language of the evidence speaks of the strip in question as 
* found around the neck, fitting loosely, and secured with a hard 
knot/ These words are sufficiently vague, but differ materially 
from those of Le Commerciel. The slip was eighteen inches wide, 
and therefore, although of muslin, would form a strong band when 
folded or rumpled longitudinally, And thus rumpled it was dis 
covered. My inference is this. The solitary murderer, having 
borne the corpse, for some distance, (whether from the thicket or 
elsewhere) by means of the bandage hitched around its middle, 
found the weight, in this mode of procedure, too much for his 
strength. He resolved to drag the burthen the evidence goes to 
show that it was dragged. With this object in view, it became 
necessary to attach something like a rope to one of the extremities. 
It could be best attached about the neck, where the head would 
prevent it slipping off. And, now the murderer bethought him 
unquestionably, of the bandage about the loins. He would have 
used this, but for its volution about the corpse, the hitch which 
embarrassed it, and the reflection that it had not been torn off 
from the garment. It was easier to tear a new slip from the 
petticoat. He tore it, made it fast about the neck, and so dragged 
his victim to the brink of the river. That this bandage/ only 
attainable with trouble and delay, and but imperfectly answering 
its purpose that this bandage was employed at all, demonstrates 
that the necessity for its employment sprang from circumstances 
arising at a period when the handkerchief was no longer attain 
able that is to say, arising, as we have imagined, after quitting 
the thicket, (if the thicket it was), and on the road between the 
thicket and the river. 

"But the evidence, you will say, of Madame Deluc (!) points 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 243 

especially to the presence of a gang, in the vicinity of the thicket, 
at or about the epoch of the murder. This I grant. I doubt if 
there were not a dozen gangs, such as described by Madame Deluc, 
in and about the vicinity of the Barriere du Roule at or about the 
period of this tragedy. But the gang which has drawn upon 
itself the pointed animadversion, although the somewhat tardy and 
very suspicious evidence of Madame Deluc, is the only gang which 
is represented by that honest and scrupulous old lady as having 
eaten her cakes and swallowed her brandy, without putting them 
selves to the trouble of making her payment. Et hinc illce iroe ? 

" But what is the precise evidence of Madame Deluc 1 A gang 
of miscreants made their appearance, behaved boisterously, ate 
and drank without making payment, followed in the route of the 
young man and girl, returned to the inn about dusk, and recrossed 
the river as if in great haste. 

"Now this great haste very possibly seemed greater iiaste 
in the eyes of Madame Deluc, since she dwelt lingeringly and 
lamentingly upon her violated cakes and ale cakes and ale for 
which she might still have entertained a faint hope of compensa 
tion. Why, otherwise, since it was about dusk, should she make 
a point of the haste ? It is no cause for wonder, surely, that 
even a gang of blackguards should make haste to get home, 
when a wide river is to be crossed in small boats, when storm 
impends, and when night approaches. 

" I say approaches ; for the night had not yet arrived. It was | 
only about dusk that the indecent haste of these * miscreants 
offended the sober eyes of Madame Deluc. But we are told that 
it was upon this very evening that Madame Deluc, as well as her 
eldest son, * heard the screams of a female in the vicinity of the 
inn. And in what words does Madame Deluc designate the period 
of the evening at which these screams were hear.d ] It was soon 
after dark, she says. But soon after dark, is at least dark ; 
and * about dusk is as certainly daylight. Thus it is abundantly 
clear that the gang quitted the Barriere du Roule prior to the 
screams overheard (?) by Madame Deluc. And although, in all the 
many reports of the evidence, the relative expressions in question 
are distinctly and invariably employed just as I have employed 
them in this conversation with yourself, no notice whatever of the 
gross discrepancy has, as yet, been taken by any of the 
journals, or by any of the myrmidons of police. 



244 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

"I shall add but one to the arguments against a gang ; but this 
one has, to my own understanding at least, a weight altogether 
irresistible. Under the circumstances of large reward offered, and 
full pardon to any king s evidence, it is not to be imagined, for a 
moment, that some member of a gang of low ruffians, or of any 
body of men, would not long ago have betrayed his accomplices. 
Each one of a gang so placed is not so much greedy of reward, or 
anxious for escape, as fearful of betrayal. He betrays eagerly and 
early that he may not himself be betrayed. That the secret has 
not been divulged, is the very best of proof that it is, in fact, a 
secret. The horrors of this dark deed are known only to one, or 
two, living human beings, and to God. 

" Let us sum up now the meagre yet certain fruits of our long 
analysis. We have attained the idea either of a fatal accident under 
the roof of Madame Deluc, or of a murder perpetrated, in the thicket 
at the Barriere du Iloule, by a lover, or at least by an intimate and 
secret associate of the deceased. This associate is of swarthy com 
plexion. This complexion, the hitch in the bandage, and the 
sailor s knot with which the bonnet-ribbon is tied, point to a 
seaman. His companionship with the deceased, a gay, but not an 
abject young girl, designates him as above the grade of the common 
sailor. Here the well written and urgent communications to the 
journals are much in the way of corroboration. The circumstance 
of the first elopement, as mentioned by Le Mercurie, tends to 
blend the idea of this seaman with that of the naval officer who 
is first known to have led the unfortunate into crime. 

" And here, most fitly, comes the consideration of the continued 
absence of him of the dark complexion. Let me pause to observe 
that the complexion of this man is dark and swarthy ; it was no 
common swarthiness which constituted the sole point of remem 
brance, both as regards Valence and Madame Deluc. But why 
is this man absent 1 Was he murdered by the gang 1 If so, why 
are there only traces of the assassinated girl ? The scene of the 
two outrages will naturally be supposed identical. And where is 
his corpse 1 The assassins would most probably have disposed of 
both in the same way. But it may be said that this man lives, 
and is deterred from making himself known, through dread of 
being charged with the murder. This consideration might be sup 
posed to operate upon him. now at this late period since it has 
been given in evidence that he was seen with Mariebut it would 



THE M YS TER Y OF MARIE ROGET. 24$ 

have head no force at the period of the deed. The first impulse of 
an innocent man would have been to announce the outrage, and to 
aid in identifying the ruffians. This, policy would have suggested. 
He had been seen with the girl. He had crossed the river with her 
in an open ferry-boat. The denouncing of the assassins would 
have appeared, even to an idiot, the surest and sole means of 
relieving himself from suspicion. We cannot suppose him, on the 
night of the fatal Sunday, both innocent himself and incognizant 
of an outrage committed. Yet only under such circumstances is 
it possible to imagine that he would have failed, if alive, in the 
denouncement of the assassins. 

"And what means are ours of attaining the truth] We shall 
find these means multiplying and gathering distinctness as we 
proceed. Let us sift to the bottom this affair of the first elopement. 
Let us know the full history of the officer, with his present cir 
cumstances, and his whereabouts at the precise period of the 
murder. Let us carefully compare with each other the various 
communications sent to the evening paper, in which the object 
was to inculpate a gang. This done, let us compare these commu 
nications, both as regards style and MS., with those sent to the 
morning paper, at a previous period, and insisting so vehemently 
upon the guilt of Mennais. And, all this done, let us again com 
pare these various communications with the known MSS. of the 
officer. Let us endeavour to ascertain, by repeated questionings 
of Madame Deluc and her boys, as well as of the omnibus-driver, 
Valence, something more of the personal appearance and bearing 
of the man of dark complexion. Queries, skilfully directed, will 
not fail to elicit, from some of these parties, information on this 
particular point (or upon others) information which the parties 
themselves may not even be aware of possessing. And let us now 
trace the boat picked up by the bargeman on the morning of 
Monday the 23rd of June, and which was removed from the 
barge-office," without the cognizance of the officer in attendance, 
and without the rudder, at some period prior to the discovery of 
the corpse. With a proper caution and perseverance we shall 
infallibly trace this boat ; for not only can the bargeman who 
picked it up identify it, but the rudder is at hand. The rudder of 
a sail-boat would not have been abandoned, without inquiry, by 
one altogether at ease in heart. And here let me pause to insinuate 
a question. There was no advertisement of the picking up of this 



246 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

boat. It was silently taken to the barge-office, and as silently 
removed. But its owner or employer how happened he, at so 
early a period as Tuesday morning, to be informed, without the 
agency of advertisement, of the locality of the boat taken up on 
Monday, unless we imagine some connection with the navy some 
personal permanent connection leading to cognizance of its minute 
interests its petty local news 1 

" In speaking of the lonely assassin dragging his burden to the 
shore, I have already suggested the probability of his availing him 
self of a boat. Now we are to understand that Marie Roget ivas 
precipitated from a boat. This would naturally have been the 
case. The corpse could not have been trusted to the shallow waters 
of the shore. The peculiar marks on the back and shoulders of 
the victim tell of the bottom ribs of a boat. That the body was 
found without weight is also corroborative of the idea. If thrown 
from the shore a weight would have been attached. We can only 
account for its absence by supposing the murderer to have neglected 
the precaution of supplying himself with it before pushing off. In 
the act of consigning the corpse to the water, he would unques 
tionably have noticed his oversight ; but then no remedy would 
have been at hand. Any risk would have been preferred to a return 
to that accursed shore. Having rid himself of his ghastly charge, 
the murderer would have hastened to the city. There, at some 
obscure wharf, he would have leaped on land. But the boat 
would he have secured it 1 He would have been in too great haste 
for such things as securing a boat. Moreover, in fastening it to the 
wharf, he would have felt as if securing evidence against himself. 
His natural thought would have been to cast from him, as far as 
possible, all that had held connection with his crime. He would 
not only have fled from the wharf, but he would not have permitted 
the boat to remain. Assuredly he would have cast it adrift. Let 
us pursue our fancies. In the morning, the wretch is stricken with, 
unutterable horror at finding that the boat has been picked up and 
detained at a locality which he is in the daily habit of frequenting 
at a locality, perhaps, which his duty compels him to frequent. 
The next night, without daring to ask for the rudder, he removes 
it. Now where is that rudderless boat ? Let it be one of our first 
purposes to discover. With the first glimpse we obtain of it, the 
dawn of our success shall begin. This boat shall guide us, with a 
rapidity which will surprise even ourselves, to turn who employed 



THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET. 247 

it in the midnight of the fatal Sabbath. Corroboration will rise 
upon corroboration, and the murderer will be traced." 

[For reasons which we shall not specify, but which to many 
readers will appear obvious, we have taken the liberty of here omit 
ting, from the MSS. placed in our hands, such portion as details 
the following up of the apparently slight clew obtained by Dupin. 
We feel it advisable only to state, in brief, that the result desired 
was brought to pass ; and that the Prefect fulfilled punctually, 
although with reluctance, the terms of his compact with the 
Chevalier. Mr. Poe s article concludes with the following words. 
Edt*] 

It will be understood that I speak of coincidences and no more. 
What I have said above upon this topic must suffice. In my own 
heart there dwells no faith in proater-nature. That Nature and its 
God are two, no man who thinks will deny. That the latter, 
creating the former, can, at will, control or modify it, is all un 
questionable. I say " at will ;" for the question is of will, and not, 
as the insanity of logic has assumed, of power. It is not that tho 
Deity cannot modify his laws, but that we insult him in imagining 
a possible necessity for modification. In their origin these laws 
were fashioned to embrace all contingencies which could lie in the 
Future. With God all is Now. 

I repeat, then, that I speak of these things only as of coincidences. 
And further : in what I relate it will be seen that between the fate 
of the unhappy Marie Cecilia Rogers, so far as that fate is known, 
and the fate of one Marie Roget up to a certain epoch in her history, 
there has existed a parallel in the contemplation of whose wonder 
ful exactitude the reason becomes embarrassed. I say all this will 
be seen. But let it not for a moment be supposed that, in proceed 
ing with the sad narrative of Marie from the epoch just mentioned, 
and in tracing to its denouement the mystery which enshrouded her, 
it is my covert design to hint at an extension of the parallel, or 
even to suggest that the measures adopted in Paris for the discovery 
of the assassin of a grisette, or measures founded in any similar 
ratiocination, would produce any similar result. 

For, in respect to the latter branch of the supposition, it should 
be considered that the most trifling variation in the facts of the two 
cases might give rise to the most important miscalculations, by 
diverting thoroughly the two courses of events ; very much as, in 

* Of the Magazine in which the article was originally published. 



248 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

arithmetic, an error which, in its own individuality, may be inap 
preciable, produces, at length, by dint of multiplication at all points 
of the process, a result enormously at variance with truth. And, 
in regard to the former branch, we must not fail to hold in view 
that the very Calculus of Probabilities to which I have referred, 
forbids all idea of the extension of the parallel : forbids it with a 
positiveness strong and decided just in proportion as this parallel 
has already been long-drawn and exact. This is one of those 
anomalous propositions which, seemingly appealing to thought 
altogether apart from the mathematical, is yet one which only the 
mathematician can fully entertain. Nothing, for example, is more 
difficult than to convince the merely general reader that the fact of 
sixes having been thrown twice in succession by a player at dice, 
is sufficient cause for betting the largest odds that sixes will not be 
thrown in the third attempt. A suggestion to this effect is usually 
rejected by the intellect at once. It does not appear that the two 
throws which have been completed, and which lie now absolutely 
in the Past, can have influence upon the throw which exists only 
in the Future. The chance for throwing sixes seems to be precisely 
as it was at any ordinary time that is to say, subject only to the 
influence of the various other throws which may be made by the 
dice. And this is a reflection which appears so exceedingly obvious 
that attempts to controvert it are received more frequently with a 
derisive smile than with anything like respectful attention. The 
error here involved a gross error redolent of mischief I cannot 
pretend to expose within the limits assigned me at present ; and 
with the philosophical it needs no exposure. It may be sufficient 
here to say that it forms one of an infinite series of mistakes which 
arise in the path of Reason through her propensity for seeking 
truth in detail* 



THE PURLOINED LETTER, 

"Nil sapientise odiosius acumine nimio." Seneca. 

|T Paris, just after dark one gusty evening in the autumn of 
13 1 1 W as enjoying the twofold luxury of meditation and 
a meerschaum, in company with my friend C. Auguste 
Dupin, in his little back library, or book closet, au troisieme, No. 33, 
Hue Dun6t, Faubourg St. Germain. For one hour at least we had 



THE PURLOINED LETTER. 



249 



maintained a profound silence ; while each, to any casual observer, 
might have seemed intently and exclusively occupied with the 
curling eddies of smoke that oppressed the atmosphere of the 
chamber. For myself, however, I was mentally discussing certain 
topics which had formed matter for conversation between us at an 
earlier period of the evening ; I mean the affair of the Rue Morgue, 
and the mystery attending the murder of Marie Koget. I looked 
upon it, therefore, as something of a coincidence, when the door of 
our apartment was thrown open and admitted our old acquaintance, 
Monsieur G , the Prefect of the Parisian police. 

We gave him a hearty welcome ; for there was nearly half as 
much of the entertaining as of the contemptible about the man, 
and we had not seen him for several years. We had been sitting 
in the dark, and Dupin now arose for the purpose of lighting a 
lamp, but sat down again, without doing so, upon G. s saying that 
he had called to consult us, or rather to ask the opinion of my 
friend, about some official business which had occasioned a great 
deal of trouble. 

" If it is any point requiring reflection," observed Dupin, as he 
forebore to enkindle the wick, " we shall examine it to better pur- 



" That is another of your odd notions," said the Prefect, who had 
a fashion of calling everything " odd" that was beyond his compre 
hension, and thus lived amid an absolute legion of " oddities." 

" Very true," said Dupin, as he supplied his visitor with a pipe, ^ ^ 
and rolled towards him a comfortable chair. 

" And what is the difficulty now ?" I asked. " Nothing more in 
the assassination way I hope V 

" Oh, no ; nothing of that nature. The fact is, the business is 



simple indeed, and I make no doubt that we can manage it 
sufficiently well ourselves : but then I thought Dupin would like 
to hear the details of it, because it is so excessively odd" 

" Simple and odd," said Dupin. 

" Why, yes ; and not exactly that, either. The fact is, we have 
all been a good deal puzzled because the affair is so simple, and yet 
baffles us altogether." 

" Perhaps it is the very simplicity of the thing which puts you ^ 
at fault," said my friend. 

" What nonsense you do talk 1" replied the Prefect, laughing 
heartily. 



250 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

" Perhaps the mystery is a little too plain," said Dupin. 

" Oh, good heavens ! who ever heard of such an idea V 

" A little too self-evident." 

" Ha ! ha! ha ! ha ! ha ! ha ! ho ! ho ! ho !" roared our visitor, 
profoundly amused, " oh, Dupin, you will be the death of me yet!" 

" And what, after all, is the matter on hand 1" I asked. 

"Why, I will tell you," replied the Prefect, as he gave a long, 
steady, and contemplative pun 7 , and settled himself in his chair. 
" I will tell you in a few words ; but, before I begin, let me caution 
you that this is an affair demanding the greatest secrecy, and that 
I should most probably lose the position I now hold, were it known 
that I confided it to any one." 

" Proceed," said I. 

"Or not," said Dupin. 

" Well, then ; I have received personal information, from a very 
high quarter, that a certain document of ths last importance has 
been purloined from the royal apartments. The individual who 
purloined it is known ; this beyond a doubt ; he was seen to take 
it. It is known, also, that it still remains in his possession." 
^ "How is this known V asked Dupin. 

" It is clearly inferred," replied the Prefect, " from the nature of 
the document, and from the non-appearance of certain results which 
would at once arise from its passing out of the robber s posses 
sion ; that is to say, from his employing it as he must design in 
the end to employ it." 

" Be a little more explicit," I said. 

" Well, I may venture so far as to say that the paper gives its 
holder a certain power in a certain quarter where such power is im 
mensely valuable. " The Prefect was f ond pl.the_cj^njia^iplomacy. 

" Still I do notxjuite understand," said Dupin. 

" No ? Well (the disclosure of the document to a third person, 
who shall be nameless, would bring in question the honour of a per 
sonage of most exalted station ; and this fact gives the holder of 
the document an ascendancy over the illustrious personage whose 
honour and peace are so jeopardized. 7 

" But this ascendancy," I interposed, " would depend upon the 
robber s knowledge of the loser s knowledge of the robber. Who 
would dare " 

"The thief," said G., "is the Minister D , who dares all 

things, those unbecoming as well as those becoming a man. The 



THE PURLOINED LETTER. 251 

method of the theft was not less ingenious than bold. The docu 
ment in question a letter, to be frank had been received by the 
personage robbed while alone in the royal boudoir. During its 
perusal she was suddenly interrupted by the entrance of the other 
exalted personage from whom especially it was her wish to conceal 
it. After a hurried and vain endeavour to thrust it in a drawer, 
she was forced to place it, open as it was, upon a table. The 
address, however, was uppermost, and, the contents thus unex- 
posed, the letter escaped notice. At this juncture enters the 

Minister D . His lynx eye immediately perceives the paper, 

recognises the handwriting of the address, observes the confusion 
of the personage addressed, and fathoms her secret. After some 
business transactions, hurried through in his ordinary manner, he 
produces a letter somewhat similar to the one in question, opens it, 
pretends to read it, and then places it in close juxtaposition to the 
other. Again he converses, for some fifteen minutes, upon the 
public affairs. At length, in taking leave, he takes also from the 
table the letter to which he had no claim. Its rightful owner saw, 
but, of course, dared not call attention to the act, in the presence 
of the third personage who stood at her elbow, The Minister de 
camped, leaving his own letter one of no importance upon the 
table." 

" Here, then," said Dupin to me, " you have precisely what you 
demand to make the ascendancy complete the robber s know 
ledge of the loser s knowledge of the robber." At u 

" Yes," replied the Prefect : " and the power thus attained has, 
for some months past, been wielded, for political purposes, to a very 
dangerous extent. The personage robbed is more thoroughly con 
vinced, every day, of the necessity of reclaiming her letter. But 
this, of course, cannot be done openly. In fine, driven to despair, 
she has committed the matter to me." 

" Than whom," said Dupin, amid a perfect whirlwind of smoke, 
" no more sagacious agent could, I suppose, be desired, or even 
imagined." 

" You flatter me," replied the Prefect ; " but it is possible that 
some such opinion may have been entertained." 

" It is clear," said I, " as you observe, that the letter is still in the 
possession of the Minister ; since it is this possession, and not any 
employment of the letter, which bestows the power. With the 
employment the power departs." 



. 



252 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

" True," said G. ; " and upon this conviction I proceeded. My 
first care was to make thorough search of the Minister s hotel ; 
and here my chief embarrassment lay in the necessity of searching 
without his knowledge. Beyond all things, I have been warned 
of the danger which would result from giving him reason to suspect 
our design." 

"But," said I, "you are quite au fait in these investigations. 
The Parisian police have done this thing often before." 

" yes; and for this reason I did not despair. The habits of the 
Minister gave me, too, a great advantage. He is frequently absent 
from home all night. His servants are by no means numerous. 
They sleep at a distance from their master s apartment, and, being 
chiefly Neapolitans, are readily made drunk. I have keys, as you 
know, with which I can open any chamber or cabinet in Paris. 
For three months a night has not passed, during the greater part 
of which I have not been engaged, personally, in ransacking the 

D Hotel. My honour is interested, and, to mention a great 

secret, the reward is enormous. So I did not abandon the search 
until I had become fully satisfied that the thief is a more astute 
nianjthan myself. I fancy that I have investigated every nook and 
corner of the premises in which it is possible that the paper can be 
concealed." 

" But is it not possible," I suggested, " that although the letter 
may be in possession of the Minister, as it unquestionably is, he 
may have concealed it elsewhere than upon his own premises V* 

" This is barely possible," said Dupin. " The present peculiar 
condition of affairs at court, and especially of those intrigues in 

which D is known to be involved, would render the instant 

availability of the document its susceptibility of being produced 
at a moment s notice a point of nearly equal importance with its 
possession." 

" Its susceptibility of being produced V said I. 

" That is to say, of being destroyed" said Dupin. 

" True," I observed; " the paper is clearly then upon the prem 
ises. As for its being upon the person of the Minister, we may con 
sider that as out of the question." 

" Entirely," said the Prefect. " He has been twice waylaid, as 
if by footpads, and his person rigorously searched under my own 
inspection." 

"You might have spared yourself this trouble," said Dupin. 



THE PURLOINED LETTER. 253 

** D , I presume, is not altogether a fool, and, if not, must have 

anticipated these waylayings, as a matter of course." 

" Not altogether a fool," said G., " but then he s a poet, which I 
take to be only one remove from a fool." 

" True," said Dupin, after a long and thoughtful whiff from his 
.nieerschaum, " although I have been guilty of certain doggerel my- 
7eTP~ 

" Suppose you detail," said I, "the particulars of your search." 

" Why the fact is, we took our time, and we searched everywhere. 
I have had long experience in these affairs. I took the entire build 
ing, room byjroom ; devoting the nights ofa whole week to each. 
We examined, first, the furniture of each apartment. We opened 
p.vprypopfii blp rj rawer; and I presume you know that, to a properly 
trained police agent, such a thing as a secret drawer is impossible. 
Any man is a dolt who permits a secret drawer to escape him in 
a search of this kind. The thing is gojalain. There is a certain 
amount of bulk of space to be accounted for in every cabinet. 
Then we have accurate rules. The fiftieth part of a line could not 
escape us. After the cabinets we took the chairs. The cushions we 
probed with the fine long needles you have seen me employ. From 
the tables we removed the tops." 

"Why so r 

" Sometimes the top of a table, or other similarly arranged piece 
of furniture, is removed by the person wishing to conceal an article; 
then the leg is excavated, the article deposited within the cavity, 
and the top replaced. The bottoms and tops of bed-posts are em 
ployed in the same way." 

" But could not the cavity be detected by sounding ?" I asked. 

" By no means, if, when the article is deposited, a sufficient wad 
ding of cotton be placed around it. Besides, in our case, we were 
obliged to proceed without noise." 

" But you could not have removed you could not have taken 
to pieces all articles of furniture in which it would have been pos 
sible to make a deposit in the manner you mention. A letter may 
be compressed into a thin spiral roll, not differing much in shape 
or bulk from a large knitting-needle, and in this form it might be 
inserted into the rung of a chair, for example. You did not take 
to pieces all the chairs V 

" Certainly not ; but we did better we examined the rungs of 
every chair in the hotel, and, indeed, the jointings of every descrip- 

_\ A iT\ V\f0 /m \rA r . . 



254 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

tion of furniture, by the aid of a most powerful microscope. Had 
^ there been any traces of recent disturbance we should not have 
failed to detect it instantly. A single grain of gimlet- dust, for ex 
ample, would have been as obvious as an apple. Any disorder in 
the glueing any unusual gaping in the joints would have sufficed 
to insure detection." 

" I presume you looked to the mirrors, between the boards and 
the plates, and you probed the beds and the bed-clothes, as well as 
the curtains and carpets." 

" That of course ; and when we had absolutely completed every 
particle of the furniture in this way, then we examined the house 
itself. We divided its entire surface into compartments, which we 
numbered, so that none might be missed; then we scrutinized each 
individual square inch throughout the premises, including the two 
houses immediately adjoining, with the microscope, as before." 

" The two houses adjoining !" I exclaimed; "you must have had 
a great deal of trouble." 

"We had ; but the reward offered is prodigious." 

" You include the grounds about the houses T 

" All the grounds are paved with brick. They gave us compara 
tively little trouble. We examined the moss between the bricks, 
and found it undisturbed." 

" You looked among D s papers, of course, and into the books 

of the library?" 

" Certainly; we opened every package and parcel ; we not only 
opened every book, but we turned over every leaf in each volume, 
not contenting ourselves with a mere shake, according to the fashion 
of some of our police officers. We also measured the thickness of 
every book-cover, with the most accurate admeasurement, and ap 
plied to each the most jealous scrutiny of the microscope. Had 
any of the bindings been recently meddled with, it would have 
been utterly impossible that the fact should have escaped observa 
tion. Some five or six volumes, just from the hands of the binder, 
we carefully probed longitudinally, with the needles." 

" You explored the floors beneath the carpets T 

" Beyond doubt. We removed every carpet, and examined tho 
boards with tlio microscope." 
" And the paper on the walls ?" 
"Yes." 
" You looked into the cellars]" 



THE PURLOINED LETTER. 255 



Wo did." 

" Then," I said, " you have been making a miscalculation, and 
the letter is wo upon the premises, as you suppose." 

"I fear you are right there," said the Prefect. "And now, 
Dupin, what would you advise me to do T 

" To make a thorough re-search of the premises." 

" That is absolutely needless," replied G - . " I am not more 
sure that I breathe than I am that the letter is not at the Hotel." 

" I have no better advice to give you," said Dupin. " You have, 
of course, an accurate description of the letter ? 

"Oh yes!" And here the Prefect, producing a memorandum- 
book, proceeded to read aloud a minute account of the internal, 
and especially of the external appearance of the missing document. 
Soon after finishing the perusal of this description, he took his 
departure, more entirely depressed in spirits than I had ever known 
the good gentleman before. 

In about a month afterwards he paid us another visit, and 
found us occupied very nearly as before. He took a pipe and a 
chair and entered into some ordinary conversation. At length I 
said, 

"Well, but G - , what of the purloined letter*? I presume 
you have at last made up your mind that there is no such thing 
as overreaching the Minister 1" 

" Confound him, say I yes ; I made the re-examination, how 
ever, as Dupin suggested but it was all labour lost, as I knew it 
would be." 

" How much was the reward offered, did you say ? " asked 
Dupin. 

" Why, a very great deal a very liberal reward I don t like to 
say how much, precisely ; but one thing I will say, that I wouldn t 
mind giving niy individual cheque for fifty thousand francs to any 
one who could obtain me that letter. The fact is, it is becoming 
of more and more importance every day ; and the reward has been 
lately doubled. If it were trebled, however, I could do no more 
than I have done." 

" Why, yes," said Dupin, drawlingly, between the whiffs of his 
meerschaum, " I really think, G - , you have not exerted your 
selfto the utmost in this matter. You mightdo a little more, 
I think, eh f 

" How Iin what way 1" 



256 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

"Why puff, puff you might puff, puff employ counsel in 
the matter, eh? puff, puff, puff. Do you remember the storj 
they tell of Abernethy V 

"No; hang Abernethy !" 

" To be sure ! hang him and welcome. But once upon a time, 
a certain rich miser conceived the design of spunging upon this 
Abernethy for a medical opinion. Getting up, for this purpose, 
an ordinary conversation in a private company, he insinuated his 
case to the physician, as that of an imaginary individual. 

" We will suppose, said the miser, that his symptoms are such 
and such ; now, doctor, what would you have directed him to take V 

" Take ! said Abernethy, why, take advice, to be sure. " 

" But," said the Prefect, a little discomposed, " I am perfectly 
willing to take advice, and to pay for it. I would really give fifty 
thousand francs to any one who would aid me in the matter." 

" In that case," replied Dupin, opening a drawer, and producing 
,a cheque-book, " you may as well fill me up a cheque for the amount 
mentioned. When you have signed it, I will hand you the letter." 

I was astounded. The Prefect appeared absolutely thunder- 
stricken. For some minutes he remained speechless and motion 
less, looking incredulously at my friend with open mouth, and 
eyes that seemed starting from their sockets ; then, apparently 
recovering himself in some measure, he seized a pen, and after 
several pauses and vacant stares, finally filled up and signed a cheque 
for fifty thousand francs, and handed it across the table to Dupin. 
The latter examined it carefully and deposited it in his pocket- 
book ; then, unlocking an escritoire, took thence a letter and gave 
it to the Prefect. This functionary grasped it in a perfect agony 
of joy, opened it with a trembling hand, cast a rapid glance at its 
contents, and then, scrambling and struggling to the door, rushed 
at length unceremoniously from the room and from the house, 
without having uttered a syllable since Dupin had requested him 
to fill up the cheque. 

When he had gone, my friend entered into some explanations. 

" The Parisian police," he said, " are exceedingly able in their 
way. They are persevering, ingenious, cunning and thoroughly 
versed in the knowledge which their duties seem chiefly to demand. 

Thus, when G detailed to us his mode of searching the premises 

at the Hotel D , I felt entire confidence in his having made a 

satisfactory investigation so far as his labours extended." 



THE PURLOINED LETTER. 257 

" So far as his labours extended V said I. 

" Yes," said Dupin. " The measures adopted were not only the 
best of their kind, but carried out to absolute perfection. Had 
the letter been deposited within the range of their search, these 
fellows would, beyond a question, have found it." 

I merely laughed but he seemed quite serious in all that he said. 

"The measures, then," he continued, "were good in their kind, 
and well executed ; their HfvfW.t lay fa tTi^ir faring- i^^ppl^Klft tn 
tiifi-jcasej_jyid to the jnajcu, A certain set of highly ingenious 
resources are, with the Prefect, a sort of Procrustean bed, to 
which he forcibly adapts his designs. But he perpetually errs by 
being too deep or too shallow for the matter in hand ; and many 
a schoolboy is a better reasoner than he. I knew one about eight 
years of age, whose success at guessing in the game of even and 
odd attracted universal admiration. This game is simple, and is 
played with marbles. One player holds in his hand a number of 
these toys, and demands of another whether that number is even 
or odd. If the guess is right, the guesser wins one ; if wrong, he 
loses one. The boy to whom I allude won all the marbles of the 
school. Of course he had some principle of guessing ; and this j 
lay in mere observation and admeasurement of the astuteness of 4 
his opponents. For example, an arrant simpleton is his opponent.^ 
and, holding up his closed hand, asks, Are they even or odd V 
Our schoolboy replies, Odd, and loses ; but upon the second trial 
he wins, for he then says to himself, The simpleton had them 
even upon the first trial, and his amount of cunning is just 
sufficient to make him have them odd upon the second ; I will 
therefore guess odd ; he guesses odd, and wins. Now, with a 
simpleton a degree above the first, he would have reasoned thus : i 
4 This fellow finds that in the first instance I guessed odd, and, in ( - 
the second, he will propose to himself, upon the first impulse, a 
simple variation from even to odd, as did the first simpleton ; but 
then a second thought will suggest that this is too simple a varia 
tion, and finally he will decide upon putting it even as before. I 
will therefore guess even ; he guesses even, and wins. Now 
this mode of reasoning in the schoolboy, whom his fellows termed 
* lucky, what, in its lastjmalysis, is it V 

" It is merely," I said, " arTldentification of the reasoner s 
intellect with that of his opponent." 

" It is," said Dupin ; " and upon inquiring of the boy by what 



258 WORKS OP EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

means lie effected the thorough identification in which his success 
consisted, I received answer as follows : * When I wish to find out 
how wise, or how stupid, or how good, or how wicked is any one, 
or what are his thoughts at the moment, I fashion the expression 
of my face, as accurately as possible, in accordance with the 
expression of his, and then wait to see what thoughts or senti 
ments arise in my mind or heart, as if to match or correspond with 
the expression/ This response of the schoolboy lies at the bottom 
of all the spurious profundity which has been attributed to Eoche- 
foucault, to La Bougive, to Machiavelli, and to Campanella." 

"And the identification," I said, "of the reasoner s intellect 
with that of his opponent, depends, if I understand you aright, 
upon the accuracy with which the opponent s intellect is ad 
measured." 

"For its practical value it depends upon this," replied Dupin ; 
" and the Prefect and his cohort fail so frequently, first, by default 
of his identification, and, secondly, by ill-admeasurement, or rather 
through non-admeasurement, of the intellect with which they are 
engaged. They consider only their own ideas of ingenuity ; and, 
in searching for anything hidden, advert only to the modes in 

it. They are right in this much 



that their own ingenuity is a faithful representative of that of the 
mass : but when the cunning of the individual felon is diverse in 
character from their own, t.Tift_fft]op"^pf[a th^rr^ ot fif*p This 
always happens when it is above their own, and very usually when 
it is below. They have no variation oT^prmciple in their investi 
gations ; at best, when urged by some unusual emergencyby 
some extraordinary reward they extend or exaggerate their old 
modes of practice, without touching their principles. What, for 
example, in this case of D -- , has been done to vary the principle 
of action ? What is all this boring, and probing, and sounding, 
and scrutinizing with the microscope, and dividing the surface of 
the building into registered square inches what is it all but an 
exaggeration of the application of the one principle or set of 
principles of search, which are based upon the one set of notions 
regarding human ingenuity, to which the Prefect, in the long 
routine of his duty, has been accustomed 1 Do you not see he has 
taken it for granted that all men proceed to conceal a letter, 
not exactly in a gimlet-hole bored in a chair-leg but, at least, in 
some out-of-the-way hole or corner suggested by the same tenour of 



THE PURLOINED LETTER. 259 

thought which would urge a man to secrete a letter in a gimlet- 
hole bored in a chair-leg ? And do you not see also, that such 
recherches nooks for concealment are adapted only for ordinary 
occasions, and would be adopted only by ordinary intellects ; for, 
in all cases of concealment, a disposal of the article concealed a 
disposal of it in this recherche manner, is, in the very first 
instance, presumable and presumed ; and thus its discovery 
depends, not at all upon the acumen, but altogether upon the 
mere care, patience, and determination of the seekers ; and where 
the case is of importance or, what amounts to the same thing in 
the policial eyes, when the reward is of magnitude, the qualities 
in question have never been known to fail. You will now under 
stand what I meant in suggesting that, had the purloined letter 
been hidden any where within the limits of the Prefect s examina 
tion in other words, had the principle of its concealment been 
comprehended within the principles of the Prefect its discovery 
would have been a matter altogether beyond question. This 
functionary, however, has been thoroughly mystified ; and the 
remote source of his defeat lies in the supposition that the Minister 
is a fool, because he has acquired renown as a poet. All fools are 
poets ; this the Prefect feels ; and he is merely guilty of anon dis- 
tributio medii in thence inferring that all poets are fools." 

" But is this really the poet V I asked. " There are two brothers, 
I know ; and both have attained reputation in letters. The 
Minister I believe has written learnedly on the Differential Calcu 
lus. He is a mathematician, and no poet." 

" You are mistaken ; I know him well ] he is both. As poet and 
mathematician, he would reason well ; as mere mathematician, he 
could not have reasoned at all, and thus would have been at the 
mercy of the Prefect." 

" You surprise me," I said, " by these opinions, which have been 
contradicted by the voice of the world. You do not mean to set at 
naught the well-digested idea of centuries. The mathematical 
reason has long been regarded as the reason par excellence." 

" II y a a parierj " replied Dupin, quoting from Chamfort, 
lli que toute idee publique, toute convention regue, est une sottise, car 
elle a convenue au plus grand nombre. 1 The mathematicians, I 
grant you, have done their best to promulgate the popular error to 
which you allude, and which is none the less an error for its 
promulgation as truth, With an art worthy a better cause, for 

i 3 



260 V/ORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

example, they have insinuated the term analysis into application 
to algebra. The French are the originators of this particular de 
ception ; but if a term is of any importance if words derive any 
value from applicability then analysis conveys algebra about 
as much as, in Latin, * ambitus implies ambition, i religio re 
ligion, or homines honesti, a set of honourable men." 

" You have a quarrel on hand, I see," said I, " with some of the 
algebraists of Paris ; but proceed." 

" I dispute the availability, and thus the value, of that reason 
which is cultivated in any especial form other than the abstractly 
logical. I dispute, in particular, the reason educed by mathemati 
cal study. The mathematics are the science of form and quantity ; 
mathematical reasoning is merely logic applied to observation upon 
form and quantity. The great error lies in supposing that even 
the truths of what is called pure algebra, are abstract or general 
truths. And this error is so egregious that I am confounded at the 
universality with which it has been received. Mathematical axioms 
are not anxioms of general truth. What is true of relation si 
form and quantity is often grossly false in regard to morals, for 
example. In this latter science it is very usually untnae that the 
aggregated parts are equal to the whole. In chemistry also the 
axiom fails.-En^jtlie consideration of motive it fails^_or__two 
motives, each of a given value, have not, necessarily, a value when 
united, equal to the sum of their values apart. There are numerous 
other mathematical truths which are only truths within the limits 
of relation. But the mathematician argues, from his finite truths* 
through habit, as if they were of an absolutely general applica 
bility as the world indeed imagines them to be. Bryant, in his 
very learned Mythology, mentions an analogous source of error, 
when he says that * although the Pagan fables are not believed, yet 
we forget ourselves continually, and make inferences from them as 
existing realities. With the algebraists, however, who are Pagans 
themselves, the Pagan fables are believed, and the inferences are 
made, not so much through lapse of memory, as through an unac 
countable addling of the brains. In short, I never yet encountered 
the mere mathematician who could be trusted out of equal roots, 
or one who did not clandestinely hold it as a point of his faith 
that x*-\-px was absolutely and unconditionally equal to q. Say to 
one of these gentlemen, by way of experiment, if you please, that 
you believe occasions may occur where x*-\-p is not altogether 



THE PURLOINED LETTER. 261 

equal to q, and, having made him understand what you mean, get 
out of his reach as speedily as convenient, for, beyond doubt, he 
will endeavour to knock you down, 

" I mean to say," continued Dupin, while I merely laughed at his 
last observations, " that if the MimsterJiaiLkee ntr more than a 
math rm nti ci nnH^rF Prefect would have been under no necessity of 
giving me this check. I knew him, however, as both mathematician 
and poet, and my measures were adapted to his capacity, with 
reference to the circumstances by which he was surrounded. I 
knew him as a courtier, too, and as a bold intriguant. Such a man, 
I considered, could not fail to be aware of the ojrdimyjvjjolicial 
modes of action. He could not have failed to anticipate and 
events hcWU 1 ploved that he did not fail to anticipate the waylay- 
ings to which he was subjected. He must have forefjp.fi") T reflp.p.t.p.dj 
the secret investigations of his premises. His frequent absences 
from home at night, which were hailed by the Prefect as certain 
aids to his success, I regarded only as ruses, to afford opportunity 
for thorough search to the police, and thus the sooner to impress 
them with the conviction to which G , in fact, did finally ar 
rive the conviction that the 1 ;tter was not upon the premises. I 
felt, also, that the whole train of thought, which I was at some 
pains in detailing to you just now, concerning the invariable prin 
ciple of policial action in searches for articles concealed I felt that 
this whole train of thought would necessarily pass through the 
mind of the Minister. It would imperatively lead him to despise 
all the ordinary nooks of concealment. He could not, I reflected, 
be so weak as not to see that the most intricate and remote recess 
of his hotel would be as open as his commonest closets to the eyes, 
to the probes, to the gimlets, and to the microscopes of the Prefect. 
Lsaw, in fine, that he wonlfl j* Amrv t M ff -mo f for of c.fturfifi, tQ 
simplicity, if not deliberately induced to it as a matter o,f rfrnip.P. 
You will remember, perhaps, how desperately the Prefect laughed 
when I suggested, upon our first interview, that it was just possible 
this mystery troubled him so much on account of its being so very 
self-evident." 

" Yes," said I, " I remember his merriment well. I really thought 
he would have fallen into convulsions." 

" The material world," continued Dupin, " abounds with very 
strict analogies to the immaterial ; and thus some colour of truth 
has been given to the rhetorical dogma, that metaphor, or simile, 



262 WORKS OF R DGAR ALLAN POE. 

may be made to strengthen an argument, as well as to embellish a 
description. The principle of the vis inertice, for example, seems 
to be identical in physics and metaphysics. It is not more true in 
the former, that a large body is with more difficulty set in motion 
than a smaller one, and that its subsequent momentum is commen 
surate with this difficulty, than it is, in the latter, that intellects of 
the vaster capacity, while more forcible, more constant, and more 
eventful in their movements than those of inferior grade, are yet 
the less readily moved, and more embarrassed and full of hesitation 
in the first few steps of their progress. Again, have you ever 
noticed which of the street signs over the shop-doors are the most 
attractive of attention V 1 

" I have never given the matter a thought," I said? 

"There is a game of puzzles," he resumed, "which is played 
upon a map. One party playing requires another to find a given 
word the name of town, river, state or empire any word, in short, 
upon the motley and perplexed surface of the chart. A novice in 
the game generally seeks to embarrass his opponents by giving 
them the most minutely lettered names ; but the adept selects such 
words as stretch, in large characters, from one end of the chart to 
the other. These, like the over-largely lettered signs and placards 
of the street, escape observation by dint of being excessively obvi 
ous ; and here the physical oversight is precisely analogous with 
the moral inapprehension by which the intellect suffers to pass 
unnoticed those considerations which are too obtrusively and too 
palpably self-evident. But this is a point, it appears, somewhat 
above or beneath the understanding of the Prefect. He never once 
thought it probable, or possible, that the Minister had deposited 
the letter immediately beneath the nose of the whole world, by way 
of best preventing any portion of that world from perceiving it. 

" But the more I reflected upon the daring, dashing, and discrimi 
nating ingenuity of D ; upon the fact that the document must 

always have been at hand, if he intended to use it to good purpose ; 
and upon the decisive evidence, obtained by the Prefect, that it 
was not hidden within the limits of that dignitary s ordinary 
search the more satisfied I became that, to conceal this letter, the 
Minister had resorted to the comprehensive and sagacious expedi 
ent of not attempting to conceal it at all. 

"Full of these ideas, I prepared myself with a pair of green 
spectacles, and called one fine morning, quite by accident, at the 



2 HE PURLOINED LETTER. 263 

Ministerial hotel. I found D at home, yawning, lounging, and 

dawdling, as usual, and pretending to be in the last extremity of 
ennui. Pie is, perhaps, the most really energetic human being now 
alive but that is only when nobody sees him. 
" To be even with him, I complained of my weak eyes, and 
lamented the necessity of the spectacles, under cover of which I 
cautiously and thoroughly surveyed the whole apartment, while 
seemingly intent only upon the conversation of my host. 

" I paid especial attention to a large writing-table near which he 
sat, and upon which lay confusedly, some miscellaneous letters and 
other papers, with one or two musical instruments and a few books. 
Here, however, after a long and very deliberate scrutiny, I saw 
nothing to excite particular suspicion. 

"At length my eyes, in going the circuit of the room, fell upon 
a trumpery filigree card-rack of pasteboard, that hung dangling 
by a dirty blue ribbon, from a little brass knob just beneath the 
middle of the mantel-piece. In this rack, which had three or four 
compartments, were five or six visiting cards and a solitary letter. 
This last was much soiled and crumpled. It was torn nearly in 
two, across the middle as if a design, in the first instance, to tear 
it entirely up as worthless, had been altered, or stayed, in the 

second. It had a large black seal, bearing the D cipher very 

conspicuously, and was addressed, in a diminutive female hand, to 

D , the Minister, himself. It was thrust carelessly, and even, 

as it seemed, contemptuously, into one of the uppermost divisions 
of the rack. 

" No sooner had I glanced at this letter, than I concluded it to be 
that of which I was in search. To be sure, it was, to all appear 
ance, radically different from the one of which the Prefect had read 
us so minute a description. Here the seal was large and black, 

with the D cipher ; there it was small and red, with the ducal 

arms of the S family. Here, the address, to the Minister, was 

diminutive and feminine ; there the superscription, to a certain 
royal personage, was markedly bold and decided ; the size alone 
formed a point of correspondence. But, then, the radicalness of 
these differences, which was excessive ; the dirt ; the soiled and 
torn condition of the paper, so inconsistent with the true methodi 
cal habits of D , and so suggestive of a design to delude the 

beholder into an idea of the worthlessness of the document ; thesa 
things, together with the hyper-obtrusive situation of this docu- 



264 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

ment, full in the view of every visitor, and thus exactly in accord 
ance with the conclusions to which I had previously arrived ; these 
things, I say. were strongly corroborative of suspicion, in one who 
came with the intention to suspect. 

" I protracted my visit as long as possible, and, while I main 
tained a most animated discussion with the Minister, upon a topic 
which I knew well had never failed to interest and excite him, I 
kept my attention really riveted upon the letter. In this examina 
tion, I committed to memory its external appearance and arrange 
ment in the rack ; and also fell, at length, upon a discovery, which 
set at rest whatever trivial doubt I might have entertained. In 
scrutinizing the edges of the paper, I observed them to be more 
chafedih&n seemed necessary. They presented the broken appear 
ance which is manifested when a stiff paper, havingbeen once folded 
and pressed with a folder, is refolded in a reversed direction, in 
the same creases or edges which had formed the original fold. This 
discovery was sufficient. It was clear to me that the letter had 
been turned, as a glove, inside^ out, re-directed L _and re-sealed. I 
bade the Minister goodTnorniiig, and toot my departure at once, 
leaving a gold snuff-box upon the table. 

" The next morning I called for the snuff-box, when we resumed, 
quite eagerly, the conversation of the preceding day. While thus 
engaged, however, a loud report, as if of a pistol, was heard imme 
diately beneath the windows of the hotel, and was succeeded by a 
series of fearful screams, and the shoutings of a terrified mob. 

D rushed to a casement, threw it open, and looked out. In 

the meantime, I stepped to the card-rack, took the letter, put it in 
my pocket, and replaced it by a fac-simile, (so far as regards exter 
nals,) which I had carefully prepared at my lodgings imitating the 
D cipher, very readily, by means of a seal formed of bread. 

" The disturbance in the street had been occasioned by the frantic 
behaviour of a man with a musket. He had fired it among a crowd 
of women and children. It proved, however, to have been without 
ball, and the fellow was suffered to go his way as a lunatic or a 

drunkard. When he had gone, D came from the window, 

whither I had followed him immediately upon securing the object 
in view. Soon afterwards I bade him farewell. The pretended 
lunatic was a man in my own pay." 

" But what purpose had you," I asked, " in replacing the letter 
by a fac-simile? Would it not have been better, at the first visit, 
*o have seized it openly, and departed V 



THE PURLOINED LETTER. 265 

"D ," replied Dupin, "is a desperate man, and a man of 

nerve. His hotel, too, is not without attendants devoted to his 
interests. Had I made the wild attempt you suggest, I might never 
have left the Ministerial presence alive. The good people of Paris 
might have heard of me no more. But I had an object apart from 
these considerations. You know my political prepossessions. In 
this matter, I act as a partisan of the lady concerned. For eighteen 
months the Minister has had her in his power. She has now him 
in hers since, being unaware that the letter is not in his posses 
sion, he will proceed with his exactions as if it was. Thus will he 
inevitably commit himself, at once, to his political destruction. 
His downfall, too, will not be more precipitate than awkward. It 
is all very well to talk about the facilis descensus Averni ; but in 
all kinds of climbing, as Catalan! said of singing, it is far more 
easy to get up than to come down. In the present instance I have 
no sympathy at least no pity for him who descends. He is that 
monstrum horrendum, an unprincipled man of genius. I confess, 
however, that I should like very well to know the precise character 
of his thoughts, when, being defied by her whom the Prefect terms 
* a certain personage, he is reduced to opening the letter which I 
left for him in the card-rack." 

4 How 1 did you put any thing particular in it 1" 

"Why it did not seem altogether right to leave the interior 

blank that would have been insulting. D , at Vienna once, 

did me an evil turn, which I told him, quite good-humouredly, 
that I should remember. So, as I knew he would feel some curiosity 
in regard to the identity of the person who had outwitted him, I 
thought it a pity not to give him a clew. He is well acquainted 
with my MS., and_I just copied into the middle of the blank sheet 
the words 

Un dessein si funeste, 

S il n est digne d Atre, est digne de Thyeste. 

They are to be found in Crebillon s AtreV" 



265 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE.< 



THE BLACK CAT, 

|OIt the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am 
about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad 
indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very 
senses reject their own evidence. J Yet, mad am I not and very 
surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would 
unburden my soul. My immediate purpose is to place before the 
world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of mere 
household events. In their consequences, these events have terri 
fiedhave tortured have destroyed mo. Yet I will not attempt 
to expound them. To me, they have presented little but horror 
to many they will seem less terrible than baroques. Hereafter, 
perhaps, some intellect may be found which will reduce my phan 
tasm to the commonplace some intellect more calm, more logical, 
and far less excitable than my own, which will perceive, in the cir 
cumstances I detail with awe, nothing more than an ordinary 
succession of very natural causes and effects. 

From my infancy I was noted for the docility and humanity of 
my disposition. My tenderness of heart was even so conspicuous 
as to make me the jest of my companions. /I was especially fond 
of animals, and was indulged by my parents with a great variety 
of pets. With these I spent most of my time, and never was so 
happy as when feeding and caressing them. This peculiarity of 
character grew with my growth, and, in my manhood, I derived 
from it one of my principal sources of pleasure. To those who 
have cherished an affection for a faithful and sagacious dog, I need 
hardly be at the trouble of explaining the nature or the intensity 
of the gratification thus derivable. There is something in the 
unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to 
the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry 
friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man. 

I married early, and was happy to find in my wife a disposition 
not uncongenial with my own. Observing my partiality for do 
mestic pets, she lost no opportunity of procuring those of the most 
agreeable kind. We had birds, gold-fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a 
small monkey, and a cat. 

This latter was a remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely 
black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree. In speaking of his 



THE BLACK CAT. 267 

intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured with 
superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, 
which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise. Not that 
she was ever serious upon this point and I mention the matter at 
all for no better reason than that it happens, just now, to be 
remembered. 

Pluto this was the cat s name was my favourite pet and play 
mate. I alone fed him, and he attended me wherever I went about 
the house. It was even with difficulty that I could prevent him 
from following me through the streets. 

Our friendship lasted, in this manner, for several years, during 
which my general temperament and character through the instru 
mentality of the fiend Intemperance had (I blush to confess it) x 
experienced a radical alteration for the worse. I grew, day by 
day, more moody, more irritable, more regardless of the feelings 
of others. I suffered myself to use intemperate language to my 
wife. At length, I even offered her personal violence. My pets, 
of course, were made to feel the change in my disposition. I not 
only neglected, but ill-used them. For Pluto, however, I still 
retained sufficient regard to restrain me from maltreating him, 
as I made no scruple of maltreating the rabbits, the monkey, or 
even the dog, when by accident, or through affection, they came 
in my way. But my disease grew upon me for what disease is 
like alcohol ! And at length even Pluto, who was now becoming 
old, and consequently somewhat peevish even Pluto began to 
experience the effects of my ill temper. 

One night, returning home, much intoxicated, from one of my 
haunts about town, I fancied that the cat avoided my presence. 
I seized him ; when, in his fright at my violence, he inflicted a 
slight wound upon my hand with his teeth. The fury of a demon 
instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My original 
soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body; and a more 
than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fibre of my 
frame. I took from my waistcoat-pocket a pen-knife, opened it, 
grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of 
its eyes from the socket ! I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen 
the damnable atrocity. 

"When reason returned with the morning when I had slept off 
the fumes of the night s debauch I experienced a sentiment half 
of horror, half of remorse, for the crime of which I had been guilty; 



268 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN" POE. 

but it was, at best, a feeble and equivocal feeling, and the soul re 
mained untouched. I again plunged into excess, and soon drowned 
in wine all memory of the deed. 

In the meantime the cat slowly recovered. The socket of the lost 
eye presented, it is true, a frightful appearance, but he no longer 
appeared to suffer any pain. He went about the house as usual, 
but, as might be expected, fled in extreme terror at my approach. 
I had so much of my old heart left, as to be at first grieved by this 
evident dislike on the part of a creature which had once so loved 
me. But this feeling soon gave place to irritation. And then came, 
as if to my final and irrevocable overthrow, the spirit of PERVERSE- 
NESS. Of this spirit philosophy takes no account. Yet I am not 
more sure that my soul lives, than I am that perverseness is one of 
the primitive impulses of the human heart one of the indivisible 
primary faculties, or sentiments, which give direction to the cha 
racter of man. Who has not, a hundred times, found himself com 
mitting a vile or a silly action, for no other reason than because he 
knows he should not ? Have we not a perpetual inclination, in the 
teeth of our best judgment, to violate that which is Law, merely 
because we understand it to be such ? This spirit of perverseness, 
I say, came to my final overthrow. It. was this unfathomable long 
ing of the soul to vex itself to offer violence to its own nature to 
do wrong for the wrong s sake only that urged me to continue and 
finally to consummate the injury I had inflicted upon the unoffend 
ing brute. One morning, in cool blood, I slipped a noose about its 
neck and hung it to the limb of a tree ; hung it with the tears 
streaming from my eyes, and with the bitterest remorse at my heart; 
hung it because I knew that it had loved me, and because I felt 
it had given me no reason of offence; hung it because I knew that 
in so doing I was committing a sin a deadly sin that would so 
jeopardize my immortal soul as to place it if such a thing were 
possible even beyond the reach of the infinite mercy of the Most 
Merciful and Most Terrible God. 

On the night of the day on which this cruel deed was done, I 
was aroused from sleep by the cry of " Fire !" The curtains of my bed 
were in flames. The whole house was blazing. It was with great 
difficulty that my wife, a servant, and myself, made our escape from 
the conflagration. The destruction was complete. My entire worldly 
wealth was swallowed up, and I resigned myself thenceforward to 
despair. 



THE BLA CK CA T. 269 

I am above the weakness of seeking to establish a sequence of 
cause and effect between the disaster and the atrocity. But I am 
detailing a chain of facts, and wish not to leave even a possible 
link imperfect. On the day succeeding the fire, I visited the ruins. 
The walls, with one exception, had fallen in. This exception was 
found in a compartment wall, not very thick, which stood about 
the middle of the house, and against which had rested the head of 
my bed. The plastering had here, in great measure, resisted the 
action of the fire a fact which I attributed to its having been re 
cently spread. About this wall a dense crowd were collected, and 
many persons seemed to be examining a particular portion of it 
with very minute and eager attention. The words " strange !" 
" singular !" and other similar expressions, excited my curiosity. I 
approached and saw, as if graven in bas-relief upon the white sur 
face, the figure of a gigantic cat. The impression was given with an 
accuracy truly marvellous. There was a rope about the animal s 
neck. 

When I first beheld this apparition for I could scarcely regard 
it as less my wonder and my terror were extreme. But at length 
reflection came to my aid. The cat, I remembered, had been hung 
in a garden adjacent to the house. Upon the alarm of fire, this 
garden had been immediately filled by the crowd by some one of 
whom the animal must have been cut from the tree and thrown 
through an open window, into my chamber. This had probably 
been done with the view of arousing me from sleep. The falling 
of other walls had compressed the victim of my cruelty into the 
substance of the freshly-spread plaster; the lime of which with the 
flames, and the ammonia from the carcass, had then accomplished 
the portraiture as I saw it. 

Although I thus readily accounted to my reason, if not altogether 
to my conscience, for the startling fact just detailed, it did not the 
less fail to make a deep impression upon my fancy. For months I 
could not rid myself of the phantasm of the cat ; and, during this 
period, there came back into my spirit a half -sentiment that seemed, 
but was not, remorse. I went so far as to regret the less of the 
animal, and to look about me, among the vile haunts which I n6w 
habitually frequented, for another pet of the same species, and of 
somewhat similar appearance, with which to supply its place. 

One night as I sat, half stupefied, in a den of more than infamy, 
my attention was suddenly drawn, to some black object, reposing 






270 WORK S OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

upon the head of one of the immense hogsheads of gin, or of rum, 
which constituted the chief furniture of the apartment. I had been 
looking steadily at the top of this hogshead for some minutes, and 
what now caused me surprise was the fact that I had not sooner 
perceived the object thereupon. I approached it, and touched it 
with my hand. It was a black cat a very large one fully as large 
as Pluto, and closely resembling him in every respect but one. 
Pluto had not a white hair upon any portion of his body; but this 
cat had a large, although indefinite, splotch of white, covering 
nearly the whole region of the breast.f f ^ 

Upon my touching him, he immediately arose, purred loudly, 
rubbed against my hand, and appeared delighted with my notice. 
This, then, was the very creature of which I was in search. I at 
once offered to purchase it of the landlord ; but this person made 
no claim to it knew nothing of it had never seen it before. 

I continued my caresses, and when I prepared to go home, the 
animal evinced a disposition to accompany me. I permitted it to 
do so ; occasionally stooping and patting it as I proceeded. When 
it reached the house it domesticated itself at once, and became 
immediately a great favourite with my wife. 

For my own part, I soon found a dislike to it arising within me. 
This was just the reverse of what I had anticipated ; but I know 
not how or why it was its evident fondness for myself rather dis 
gusted and annoyed me. By slow degrees, these feelings of disgust 
and annoyance rose into the bitterness of hatred. I avoided the 
creature ; a certain sense of shame, and the remembrance of my 
former deed of cruelty, preventing me from physically abusing it. 
I did not, for some weeks, strike, or otherwise violently ill use it ; 
but gradually very gradually I came to look upon it with un 
utterable loathing, and to flee silently from its odious presence, as 
from the breath of a pestilence. 

What added, no doubt, to my hatred of the beast, was the dis 
covery, on the morning after I brought it home, that, like Pluto, it 
also had been deprived of one of its eyes. This circumstance, how 
ever, only endeared it to my wife, who, as I have already said, 
possessed, in a high degree, that humanity of feeling which had 
once been my distinguishing trait, and the source of many of my 
simplest and purest pleasures. 

With my aversion to this cat, however, its partiality for myself 
seemed to increase. It followed my footsteps with a pertinacity 



THE BLA CK CAT. 271 

which it would be difficult to make the reader comprehend. When 
ever I sat, it would crouch beneath my chair, or spring upon my 
knees, covering me with its loathsome caressesY If I arose to walk 
it would get between my feet, and thus nearly thrmv me down, or, 
fastening its long and sharp claws in my dress, clamber, in this 
manner, to my breast. At such times, although I longed to destroy 
it with a blow, I was yet withheld from so doing, partly by a 
memory of my former crime, but chiefly let me confess it at once 
by absolute dread of the beast. 

This dread was not exactly a dread of physical evil and yet I 
should be at a loss how otherwise to define it. I am almost ashamed 
to own yes, even in this felon s cell, I am almost ashamed to own 
that the terror and horror with which the animal inspired me, 
had been heightened by one of the merest chimeras it would be 
possible to conceive. My wife had called my attention, more than 
once, to the character of the mark of white hair, of which I have 
spoken, and which constituted the sole visible difference between 
the strange beast and the one I had destroyed. The reader will 
remember that this mark, although large, had been originally very 
indefinite; but, by slow degrees degrees nearly imperceptible, and 
which for a long time my reason struggled to reject as fanciful 
it had, at length, assumed a rigorous distinctness of outline. It was 
now the representation of an object that I shudder to name and 
for this, above all, I loathed, and dreaded, and would have rid my 
self of the monster had 1 dared it was now, I say, the image of a 
hideous of a ghastly thing of the GALLOWS ! oh, mournful and 
terrible engine of horror and of crime of agony and of death ! 

And now was I indeed wretched beyond the wretchedness of 
mere humanity. And a brute beast whose fellow I had con 
temptuously destroyed a brute beast to work out for me for me 
a man, fashioned in the image of the High God so much of 
insufferable woe ! Alas ! neither by day nor by night knew I the 
blessing of rest any more ! During the former the creature left me 
no moment alone ; and, in the latter, I started, hourly, from dreams 
of unutterable fear, to find the hot breath of the thing upon my 
face, and its vast weight an incarnate nightmare that 1 had no 
power to shake off incumbent eternally upon my heart! 

Beneath the pressure of torments such as these, the feeble rem 
nant of the good within me succumbed. Evil thoughts became my 
sole intimates the darkest and most evil of thoughts. The moodi- 



273 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

ness of my usual temper increased to hatred of all things and of all 
mankind ; while, from the sudden, frequent, and ungovernable 
outbursts of a fury to which I now blindly abandoned myself, my 
uncomplaining wife, alas ! was the most usual and the most patient 
of sufferers. 

One day she accompanied me, upon some household errand, into 
the cellar of the old building which our poverty compelled us to 
inhabit. The cat followed me down the steep stairs, and, nearly 
throwing me headlong, exasperated me to madness. Uplifting an 
axe, and forgetting, in my wrath, the childish dread which had 
hitherto stayed my hand, I aimed a blow at the animal which, of 
course, would have proved instantly fatal had it descended as I 
wished. But this blow was arrested by the hand of my wife. 
Goaded, by the interference, into a rage more than demoniacal, I 
withdrew my arm from her grasp, and buried the axe in her brain. 
She fell dead upon the spot, without a groan. 

This hideous murder accomplished, I set myself forthwith, and 
with entire deliberation, to the task of concealing the body. I knew 
that I could not remove it from the house, either by day or by 
night, without the risk of being observed by the neighbours. Many 
projects entered my mind. At one period I thought of cutting the 
corpse into minute fragments, and destroying them by fire. At 
another, I resolved to dig a grave for it in the floor of the cellar. 
Again, I deliberated about casting it into the well in the yard 
about packing it in a box, as if merchandize, with the usual arrange 
ments, and so getting a porter to take it from the house. Finally 
I hit upon what I considered a far better expedient than either of 
these. I determined to wall it up in the cellar as the monks of 
the middle ages are recorded to have walled up their victims. 

For a purpose such as this the cellar was well adapted. Its walls 
were loosely constructed, and had lately been plastered throughout 
with a rough plaster, which the dampness of the atmosphere had 
prevented from hardening. Moreover, in one of the walls was a 
projection, caused by a false chimney, or fireplace, that had been 
filled up, and made to resemble the rest of the cellar. I made no 
doubt that I could readily displace the bricks at this point, insert 
the corpse, and wall the whole up as before, so that no eye could 
detect anything suspicious. 

And in this calculation I was not deceived. By means of a 
crowbar I easily dislodged the bricks, and, having carefully de- 



THE SLACK CAT. 2^3 

posited the body against the inner wall, I propped it in that 
position, while, with little trouble, I re-laid the whole structure as 
it originally stood. Having procured mortar, sand, and hair, with 
every possible precaution, I prepared a plaster which could not be 
distinguished from the old, and with this I very carefully went over 
the new brick-work. When I had finished, I felt satisfied that all 
was right. The wall did not present the slightest appearance of 
having been disturbed. The rubbish on the floor was picked np 
with the minutest care. I looked around triumphantly, and said 
to myself " Here at least, then, my labour has not been in vain." -=) 0. \ 

My next step was to look for the beast which had been the cause f 7 ^," 
of so much wretchedness ; for I had, at length, firmly resolved to 
put it to death. Had I been able to meet with it, at the moment, 
there could have been no doubt of its fate ; but it appeared that 
the crafty animal had been alarmed at the violence of my previous 
anger, and forbore to present itself in my present mood. It is im 
possible to describe, or to imagine, the deep, the blissful sense of 
relief which the absence of the detested creature occasioned in my 
bosom. It did not make its appearance during the night and thus 
for one night at least, since its introduction into the house, I 
soundly and tranquilly slept ; aye, slept even with the burden of 
murder upon my soul ! 

The second and the third day passed, and still my tormentor 
came not. Once again I breathed as a freeman. The monster, in 
terror, had fled the premises for ever ! I should behold it no more ! 
My happiness was supreme! The guilt of my dark deed disturbed 
me but little. Some few inquiries had been made, but these had 
been readily answered. Even a search had been instituted but of 
course nothing was to be discovered. I looked upon my future 
felicity as secured. 

Upon the fourth day of the assassination, a party of the police 
came, very unexpectedly, into the house, and proceeded again to 
make rigorous investigation of the premises. Secure, however, in 
the inscrutability of my place of concealment, I felt no embarrass 
ment whatever. The officers bade me accompany them in their 
search. They left no nook or corner unexplored. At length, for 
the third or fourth time, they descended into the cellar. I quivered 
not in a muscle. My heart beat calmly as that of one who slumbers 
in innocence. I walked the cellar from end to end. I folded my 
arms upon my bosom, and roamed easily to and fro. The police 

IS 



274 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

were thoroughly satisfied and prepared to depart. The glee at my 
heart was too strong to be restrained. I burned to say if but one 
word, by way of triumph, and to render doubly sure their assurance 
of my guiltlessness. 

" Gentlemen," I said at last, as the party ascended the steps, " I 
delight to have allayed your suspicions. I wish you all health, and 
a little more courtsy. By the by, gentlemen, this this is a very 
well constructed house." [In the rabid desire to say something 
easily, I scarcely knew what I uttered at all.] " I may say an 
excellently well constructed house. These walls are you going, 
gentlemen 1 these walls are solidly put together ;" and here, 
through the mere frenzy of bravado, I rapped heavily, with a 
cane which I held in my hand, upon that very portion of the brick 
work behind which stood the corpse of the wife of my bosom. 

But may God shield and deliver me from the fangs of the Arch- 
Eiend! ^2STo sooner had the reverberation of my blows sunk into 
silence, than I was answered by a voice from within the tomb ! by 
a cry, at first muffled and broken, like the sobbing of a child, and 
then quickly swelling into one long, loud, and continuous scream, 
utterly anomalous and inhuman a howl a wailing shriek, half of 
horror and half of triumph, such as might have arisen only out of 
hell, conjointly from the throats of the damned in their agony and 
of the demons that exult in the damnation. 

Of my own thoughts it is folly to speak. Swooning, I staggered 
to the opposite wall. For one instant the party upon the stairs 
remained motionless, through extremity of terror and of awe. In 
the next, a dozen stout arms were toiling at the wall. It fell bodily. 
The corpse, already greatly decayed and clotted with gore, stood 
erect before the eyes of the spectators. Upon its head, with red 
extended mouth and solitary eye of fire, sat the hideous beast whose 
craft had seduced me into murder, and whose informing voice had 
consigned me to the hangman. I had walled the monster up within 
the tomb ! 



THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH. 275 

THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, 

I HE " Red Death" had long devastated the country. No pes 
tilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was 
its Avator and its seal the redness and the horror of 
blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then 
profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains 
upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the 
pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy 
of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termina 
tion of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour. 

But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. 
When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his 
presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the 
knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep 
seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys. This was an extensive 
and magnificent structure, the creation of the prince s own eccen 
tric yet august taste. A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. This 
wall had gates of iron. The courtiers, having entered, brought 
furnaces and massy hammers and welded the bolts. They resolved 
to leave means neither of ingress or egress to the sudden impulses 
of despair or of frenzy from within. The abbey was amply pro 
visioned. With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance 
to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the 
meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The prince had pro 
vided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there 
were improvisator!, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, 
there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were 
within. Without was the " Red Death." 

It was toward the close of the fifth or six month of his seclusion, 
and while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad, that the 
Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball 
of the most unusual magnificence. 

It was a voluptuous scene, that masquerade. But first let me 
tell of the rooms in which it was held. There were seven an im 
perial suite. In many palaces, however, such suites form a long and 
straight vista, while the folding doors slide back nearly to the walls 
on either hand, so that the view of the whole extent is scarcely 
impeded. Here the case was very different, as might have been 

1 8-2 



276 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

expected from the duke s love of the bizarre. The apartments were 
so irregularly disposed that the vision embraced but little more 
than one at a time. There was a sharp turn at every twenty or 
thirty yards, and at each turn a novel effect. To the right and left, 
in the middle of each wall, a tall and narrow Gothic window looked 
out upon a closed corridor which pursued the windings of the 
suite. These windows were of stained glass, whose colour varied 
in accordance with the prevailing hue of the decorations of the 
chamber into which it opened. That at the eastern extremity was 
hung, for example, in blue and vividly blue were its windows. 
The second chamber was purple in its ornaments and tapestries, 
and here the panes were purple. The third was green throughout, 
and so were the casements. The fourth was furnished and lighted 
with orange the fifth with white the sixth with violet. The 
seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries 
that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls, falling in heavy 
folds upon a carpet of the same material and hue. But in this 
chamber only the colour of the windows failed to correspond with 
the decorations. The panes here were scarlet a deep blood colour. 
Now in no one of the seven apartments was there any lamp or can 
delabrum, amid the profusion of golden ornaments that lay scattered 
to and fro, or depended from the roof. There was no light of any 
kind emanating from lamp or candle within the suite of chambers. 
But in the corridors that followed the suite, there stood, opposite 
to each window, a heavy tripod, bearing a brazier of fire, that pro 
jected its rays through the tinted glass, and so glaringly illumined 
the room. And thus were produced a multitude of gaudy and fan 
tastic appearances. But in the western or black chamber the effect 
of the fire-light that streamed upon the dark hangings through the 
blood-tinted panes, was ghastly in the extreme, and produced so 
wild a look upon the countenances of those who entered, that there 
were few of the company bold enough to set foot within its pre- 
cincts at all. 

It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western 
wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. Its pendulum swung to and fro 
with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang ; and when the minute-hand 
made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there 
came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear 
and loud and deep and exceedingly musical; but of so peculiar a 
note and emphasis that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of 



THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, 277 

the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their per 
formance, to harken to the sound ; and thus the \valtzers perforce 
ceased their evolutions ; and there was a brief disconcert of the 
whole gay company ; and, while the chimes of the clock yet rang, 
it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and 
sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused reverie 
or meditation. But when the echoes had fully ceased, a light 
laughter at once pervaded the assembly ; the musicians looked at 
each other and smiled as if at their own nervousness and folly, and 
made whispering vows, each to the other, that the next chiming of 
the clock should produce in them no similar emotion ; and then, 
after the lapse of sixty minutes, (which embrace three thousand 
and six hundred seconds of the Time that flies,) there came yet 
another chiming of the clock, and then were the same disconcert 
and tremulousness and meditation as before. 

But, in spite of these things, it was a gay and magnificent revel. 
The tastes of the duke were peculiar. He had a fine eye for colours 
and effects. He disregarded the decora of mere fashion. His plans 
were bold and fiery, an d his conceptions glowed with barbaric 
lustre. There are some who would have thought him mad. His 
followers felt that he was not. It was necessary to hear and see 
and touch him to be sure that he was not. 

He had directed, in great part, the movable embellishments of 
the seven chambers, upon occasion of this great fete; and it was 
his own guiding taste which had given character to the masque- 
raders. Be sure they were grotesque. There were much glare and 
glitter and piquancy and phantasm much of what has been since 
seen in " Hernani." There were arabesque figures with unsuited 
limbs and appointments. There were delirious fancies such as the 
madman fashions. There were much of the beautiful, much of the 
wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a 
little of that which might have excited disgust. To and fro in the 
seven chambers there stalked, in fact, a multitude of dreams. And 
these the dreams writhed in and about, taking hue from the 
rooms, and causing the wild music of the orchestra to seem as the 
echo of their steps. And, anon, there strikes the ebony clock which 
stands in the hall of the velvet. And then, for a moment, all is 
still, and all is silent save the voice of the clock. The dreams are 
stiff-frozen as they stand. But the echoes of the chime die away 
they have endured but an instant and a light, half-subduecl 



278 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE, 

laughter floats after them as they depart. And now again the 
music swells, and the dreams live, and writhe to and fro more mer 
rily than ever, taking hue from the many tinted windows through 
which stream the rays from the tripods. But to the chamber which 
lies most westwardly of the seven, there are now none of the 
maskers who venture ; for the night is waning away ; and there 
flows a ruddier light through the blood-coloured panes ; and the 
blackness of the sable drapery appals ; and to him whose foot falls 
upon the sable carpet, there comes from the near clock of ebony 
a muffled peal more solemnly emphatic than any which reaches 
their ears who indulge in the more remote gaieties of the other 
apartments. 

But these other apartments were densely crowded, and in them 
beat feverishly the heart of life. And the revel went whirlingly on, 
until at length there commenced the sounding of midnight upon 
the clock. And then the music ceased, as I have told ; and the 
evolutions of the waltzers were quieted ; and there was an uneasy 
cessation of all things as before. But now there were twelve strokes 
to be sounded by the bell of the clock ; and thus it happened, 
perhaps, that more of thought crept, with more of time, into the 
meditations of the thoughtful among those who revelled. And 
thus, too, it happened, perhaps, that before the last echoes of the 
last chime had utterly sunk into silence, there were many indi 
viduals in the crowd who had found leisure to become aware of the 
presence of a masked figure which had arrested the attention of no 
single individual before. And the rumour of this new presence 
having spread itself whisperingly around, there arose at length 
from the whole company a buzz, or murmur, expressive of disap 
probation and surprise then, finally, of terror, of horror, and of 
disgust. 

In an assembly of phantasms, such as I have painted, it may 
well be supposed that no ordinary appearance could have excited 
such sensation. In truth the masquerade license of the night was 
nearly unlimited ; but the figure in question had out-Herocled 
Herod, and gone beyond the bounds of even the prince s indefinite 
decorum. There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless which 
cannot be touched without emotion. Even with the utterly lost, 
to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which 
no jest can be made. The whole company, indeed, seemed now 
deeply to feel that in the costume and bearing of the stranger 



THE MASQUE OF THE RED D EAT PL 279 

neither wit nor propriety existed. The figure was tall and gaunt, 
and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave. 
The mask which concealed the visage was made so nearly to re^ 
semble the countenance of a stiffened corpse that the closest scrutiny 
must have had difficulty in detecting the cheat. And yet all this 
might have been endured, if not approved, by the mad revellers 
around. But the mummer had gone so far as to assume the type 
of the Red Death. His vesture was dabbled in blood and his 
broad brow, with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with 
the scarlet horror. 

When the eyes of Prince Prospero fell upon this spectral image 
(which with a slow and solemn movement, as if more fully to 
sustain its role, stalked to and fro among the waltzers) he was seen 
to be convulsed, in the first moment with a strong shudder either 
of terror or distaste; but, in the next, his brow reddened with rage, 

" Who dares V he demanded hoarsely of the courtiers who stood 
near him " who dares insult us with this blasphemous mockery] 
Seize him and unmask him that we may know whom we have to 
hang at sunrise from the battlements !" 

It was in the eastern or blue chamber in which stood the Prince 
Prospero as he uttered these words. They rang throughout the 
seven rooms loudly and clearly for the prince was a bold and 
robust man, and the music had become hushed at the waving of 
his hand. 

It was in the blue room where stood the prince with a group of 
pale courtiers by his side. At first, as he spoke, there was a slight 
rushing movement of this group in the direction of the intruder, 
who, at the moment was also near at hand, and now, with deliberate 
and stately step, made closer approach to the speaker. But from 
a certain nameless awe with which the mad assumptions of the 
mummer had inspired the whole party, there were found none who 
put forth hand to seize him ; so that, unimpeded, he passed within 
a yard of the prince s person ; arid, while the vast assembly, as if 
with one impulse, shrank from the centres of the rooms to the 
walls, he made his way uninterruptedly, but with the same solemn 
and measured step which had distinguished him from the first, 
through the blue chamber to the purple through the purple to 
the greenthrough the green to the orange through this again to 
the white and even thence to the violet, ere a decided movement 
had been made to arrest him. It was then, however, that the 



2 8o WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE, 

Prince Prospero, maddening with, rage and the shame of his own 
momentary cowardice, rushed hurriedly through the six chambers, 
while none followed him on account of a deadly terror that had 
seized upon all. He bore aloft a drawn dagger, and had approached, 
in rapid impetuosity, to within three or four feet of the retreating 
figure, when the latter, having attained the extremity of the velvet 
apartment, turned suddenly and confronted his pursuer. There 
was a sharp cry and the dagger dropped gleaming upon the sable 
carpet, upon which, instantly afterwards, fell prostrate in death the 
Prince Prospero. Then, summoning the wild courage of despair, 
a throng of the revellers at once threw themselves into the black 
apartment, and, seizing the mummer, whose tall figure stood erect, 
and motionless within the shadow of the ebony clock, gasped in 
unutterable horror at finding the grave cerements and corpse-like 
mask which they handled with so violent a rudeness, untenanted 
by any tangible form. 

And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death, 
He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped 
the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died 
each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the 
ebony clock Avent out with that of the last of the gay. And the 
flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the 
Death held illimitable dominion over all. 



THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO, 

|HE thousand injuries of Fortunate I had borne as I best 
could ; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. 
You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not 
suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. At length I 
would be avenged ; this was a point definitely settled but the very 
definitiveness with which it was resolved, precluded the idea of 
risk. I must not only punish, but punish with impunity. A wrong 
is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is 
equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt 
as such to him who has done the wrong. 

It must be understood, that neither by word nor deed had I given 
Fortunato cause to doubt my good will. I continued, as was my 



THE CA SK OF A M ON TILL AD 0. 281 

wont, to smile in his face, and lie did not perceive that my smile 
now was at the thought of his immolation. 

He had a weak point this Fortimato although in other regards 
he was a man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself 
on his connoisseurship in wine. Few Italians have the true virtuoso 
spirit. For the most part their enthusiasm is adapted to suit the 
time and opportunity to practise imposture upon the British and 
Austrian millionaires. In painting and gemmary Fortunate, like 
his countrymen, was a quack but in the matter of old wines he 
was sincere. In this respect I did not differ from him materially : 
I was skilful in the Italian vintages myself, and bought largely 
whenever I could. 

It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of 
the carnival season, that I encountered my friend. He accosted 
me with excessive warmth, for he had been drinking much. The 
man wore motley. He had on a tight-fitting parti-striped dress, 
and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells. I was 
so pleased to see him, that I thought I should never have done 
wringing his hand. 

I said to him " My dear Fortunate, you are luckily met. How 
remarkably well you are looking to-day ! But I have received a 
pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts." 

" How r said he. " Amontillado 1 A pipe ] Impossible ! 
And in the middle of the carnival \ } 

" I have my doubts," I replied ; " and I was silly enough to pay 
the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter. 
You were not to be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain. 

" Amontillado !" 

" I have my doubts." 

" Amontillado !" 

" And I must satisfy them." 

" Amontillado !" 

" As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If any one 
has a critical turn, it is he. He will tell me 

" Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry." 

" And yet some fools will have it that his taste is a match for 
your own." 

" Come, let us go." 

" Whither ] 

"To your vaults." 



282 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

" My friend, no ; I will not impose upon your good nature. I 
perceive you have an engagement. Luchesi " 

"I have no engagement ; come." 

" My friend, no. It is not the engagement, but the severe cold 
with which I perceive you are afflicted. The vaults are insuffer 
ably damp. They are encrusted with nitre." 

" Let us go, nevertheless. The cold is merely nothing. Amon- 
tillido ! You have been imposed upon. And as for Luchesi, he 
cannot distinguish Sherry from Amontillado." 

Thus speaking, Fortunato possessed himself of my arm. Putting 
on a mask of black silk, and drawing a roquelaire closely about 
my person, I suffered him to hurry me to my palazzo. 

There were no attendants at home ; they had absconded to make 
merry in honour of the time. I had told them that I should not 
return until the morning, and had given them explicit orders not 
to stir from the house. These orders were sufficient, I well knew, 
to insure their immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as 
my back was turned. 

I took from their sconces two flambeaux, and giving one to For 
tunato, bowed him through several suites of rooms to the archway 
that led into the vaults. I passed down a long and winding stair 
case, requesting him to be cautious as he followed. We came at 
length to the foot of the descent, and stood together on the damp 
ground of the catacombs of the Montresors. 

The gait. of my friend was unsteady, and the bells upon his cap 
jingled as he strode. 

"The pipe," said he. 

" It is farther on," said I ; " but observe the white web-work 
which gleams from these cavern walls." 

He turned towards me, and looked into my eyes with two filmy 
orbs that distilled the rheum of intoxication. 

"Nitre? he asked, at length. 

" Nitre," I replied. " How long have you had that cough v> 

tl Ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh !~ 
ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! ugh 1" 

My poor friend found it impossible to reply for many minutes. 

" It is nothing," he said, at last. 

" Come," I said, with decision, " we will go back ; your health 
is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved ; you are 
happy, as once I was.. You are a man to be missed. For me it 



THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO. 283 

is no matter. We will go back ; you will be ill, and I cannot bo 
responsible. Besides, there is Luchesi 

" Enough," he said, " the cough is a mere nothing ; it will not 
kill me. I shall not die of a cough." 

" True true," I replied ; " and, indeed, I had no intention of 
alarming you unnecessarily but you should use all proper caution. 
A draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps." 

Here I knocked off the neck of a bottle which I drew from a 
long row of its fellows that lay upon the mould. 

" Drink," I said, presenting him the wine. 

He raised it to his lips with a leer, tie paused and nodded to 
me familiarly, while his bells jingled. 

" I drink," he said, " to the buried that repose around us." 

" And I to your long life." 

He again took my arm, and we proceeded. 

" These vaults," he said, " are extensive." 

"The Montresors," I replied, "were a great and numerous 
family." 

" I forget your arms." 

" A huge human foot d or, in a field azure ; the foot crushes a 
serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel," 

" And the motto f 

" Nemo me impune lacessit." 

"Good! 1 he said. 

The wine sparkled in his eyes and the bells jingled. My own 
fancy grew warm with the Medoc. We had passed through walls 
of piled bones, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the 
inmost recesses of the catacombs. I paused again, and this time I 
made bold to seize Fortunato by an arm above the elbow. 

" The nitre !" I said ; " see, it increases. It hangs like moss 
upon the vaults. We are below the river s bed. The drops of 
moisture trickle among the bones. Come, we will go back ere it 
is too late. Your cough 

" It is nothing," he said ; " let us go on. But first, another 
draught of the Medoc." 

I broke and reached him a flagon of De Grave. He emptied it 
at a breath. His eyes flashed with a fierce light. He laughed and 
threw the bottle upwards with a gesticulation I did not understand. 

I looked at him in surprise, He repeated the movement a 
grotesque one. 



2 g 4 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN PQE. 

" You do not comprehend T he said. 

"Not I," I replied. 

" Then you are not of the brotherhood." 

"How?" 

" You are not of the masons." 

"Yes, yes," I said, "yes, yes." 

" You 1 Impossible ! A mason ?" 

" A mason," I replied. 

" A sign," he said. 

" It is this," I answered, producing a trowel from beneath the 
folds of my roquelaire. 

" You jest," he exclaimed, recoiling a few paces. u But let us 
proceed to the Amontillado." 

" Be it so," I said, replacing the tool beneath the cloak, and again 
offering him my arm. He leaned upon it heavily. We continued 
our route in search of the Amontillado. We passed through a 
range of low arches, descended, passed on, and descending again, 
arrived at a deep crypt, in which the foulness of the air caused our 
flambeaux rather to glow than flame. 

At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less 
spacious. Its walls had been lined with human remains, piled to 
the vault overhead, in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris. 
Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this 
manner. From the fourth the bones had been thrown down, and 
lay promiscuously upon the earth, forming at one point a mound 
of some size. Within the wall thus exposed by the displacing of 
the bones, we perceived a still interior recess, in depth about four 
feet, in width three, in height six or seven. It seemed to have 
been constructed for no especial use within itself, but formed 
merely the interval between two of the colossal supports of the 
roof of the catacombs, and was backed by one of their circum 
scribing walls of solid granite. 

It was in vain that Fortunato, uplifting his dull torch, en 
deavoured to pry into the depth of the recess. Its termination 
the feeble light did not enable us to see. 

"Proceed," I said; " herein is the Amontillado. As for 
Luchesi " 

" He is an ignoramus," interrupted my friend, as he stepped 
unsteadily forward, while I followed immediately at his heels. In 
an instant he had reached the extremity of the niche, and finding 



THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO. 285 

his progress arrested by the rock, stood stupidly bewildered. A 
moment more and I had fettered him to the granite. In its sur 
face were two iron staples, distant from each other about two feet, 
horizontally. From one of these depended a short chain, from the 
other a padlock. Throwing the links about his waist, it was but 
the work of a few seconds to secure it. He was too much astounded 
to resist. Withdrawing the key I stepped back from the recess. 

" Pass your hand," I said, " over the wall ; you cannot help 
feeling the nitre. Indeed it is very damp. Once more let me im 
plore you to return. No? Then I must positively leave you. 
But I must first render you all the little attentions in my power." 

" The Amontillado !" ejaculated my friend, not yet recovered 
from his astonishment. 

" True," I replied, "the Amontillado." 

As I said these words I busied myself among the pile of bones 
of which I have before spoken. Throwing them aside, I soon un 
covered a quantity of building stone and mortar. With these 
materials and with the aid of my trowel, I began vigorously to 
wall up the entrance of the niche. 

I had scarcely laid the first tier of the masonry when I dis 
covered that the intoxication of Fortunate had in a great measure 
worn off. The earliest indication I had of this was a low moaning 
cry from the depth of the recess. It was not the cry of a drunken 
man. There was then a long and obstinate silence. I laid the 
second tier, and the third, and the fourth ; and then I heard the 
furious vibrations of the chain. The noise lasted for several 
minutes, during which, that I might hearken to it with the more 
satisfaction, I ceased my labours and sat down upon the bones. 
When at last the clanking subsided, I resumed the trowel, and 
finished without interruption the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh 
tier. The wall was now nearly upon a level with my breast. I 
again paused, and holding the flambeaux over the mason-work, 
threw a few feeble rays upon the figure within. 

A succession of loud and shrill screams, bursting suddenly from 
the throat of the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back. 
For a brief moment I hesitated I trembled. Unsheathing my 
rapier, I began to grope with it about the recess ; but the thought 
of an instant reassured me. I placed my hand upon the solid 
fabric of the catacombs, and felt satisfied. I reapproached the 
wall, I replied to the yells of him who clamoured. I re-echoed 



286 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

I aided I surpassed them in volume and in strength. I did 
this, and the clamourer grew still. 

It was now midnight, and my task was drawing to a close. I 
had completed the eighth, the ninth, and the tenth tier. I had 
finished a portion of the last and the eleventh ; there remained 
but a single stone to be fitted and plastered in. I struggled with 
its weight ; I placed it partially in its destined position. But 
now there came from out the niche a low laugh that erected the 
hairs upon my head. It was succeeded by a sad voice, which I 
had difficulty in recognizing as that of the noble Fortunate. The 
voice said 

" Ha ! ha ! ha ! he ! he ! a very good joke indeedan excel 
lent jest. We will have many a rich laugh about it at the palazzo 
he ! he ! he ! over our wine he ! he ! he !" 

" The Amontillado ! I said. 

" He ! he ! he ! he ! he ! he ! yes, the Amontillado. But is 
it not getting late 1 Will not they be awaiting us at the palazzo, 
the Lady Fortunate and the rest 1 Let us be gone." 

"Yes," I said, " let us be gone." 

" For the love of God, Montresor /" 

" Yes," I said, "for the love of God !" 

But to these words I hearkened in vain for a reply. I grew 
impatient. I called aloud 

" Fortunato !" 

No answer. I called again 

" Fortunato !" 

No answer still. I thrust a torch through the remaining aper 
ture and let it fall within. There came forth in return only a jing 
ling of the bells. My heart grew sick on account of the damp 
ness of the catacombs. I hastened to make an end of my labour. 
I forced the last stone into its position ; I plastered it up. Against 
the new masonry I re-erected the old rampart of bones. For the 
half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace re- 
qtiiescat / 



THE OVAL PORTRAIT. 2 S; 



THE OVAL PORTRAIT, 

HE chateau into which my valet had ventured to make 
forcible entrance, rather than permit me, in my desperately 
wounded condition, to pass a night in the open air, was one 
of those piles of commingled gloom and grandeur which have so 
long frowned among the Appenines, not less in fact than in the 
fancy of Mrs. Radcliffe. To all appearance it had been temporarily 
and very lately abandoned. We established ourselves in one of the 
smallest and least sumptuously furnished apartments. It lay in a 
remote turret of the building. Its decorations were rich, yet tat 
tered and antique. Its Avails were hung with tapestry and bedecked 
with manifold and multiform armorial trophies, together with an 
unusually great number of very spirited modern paintings in frames 
of rich golden arabesque. In these paintings, which depended from 
the walls not only in their main surfaces, but in very many nooks 
which the bizarre architecture of the chateau rendered necessary 
in these paintings my incipient delirium, perhaps, had caused me to 
take deep interest; so that I bade Pedro to close the heavy shutters 
of the room since it was already night to light the tongues of a 
tall candelabrum which stood by the head of my bed and to throw 
open far and wide the fringed curtains of black velvet which en 
veloped the bed itself. I wished all this done that I might resign 
myself, if not to sleep, at least alternately to the contemplation of 
these pictures, and the perusal of a small volume which had been 
found upon the pillow, and which purported to criticise and de 
scribe them. 

Long long I readand devoutly, devotedly I gazed. Rapidly 
and gloriously the hours flew by, and the deep midnight came. The 
position of the candelabrum displeased me, and outreaching my 
hand with difficulty, rather than disturb my slumbering valet, I 
placed it so as to throw its rays more fully upon the book. 

But the action produced an effect altogether unanticipated. The 
rays of the numerous candles (for there were many) now fell within 
a niche of the room which had hitherto been thrown into deep shade 
by one of the bed-posts. I thus saw in vivid light a picture all un 
noticed before. It was the portrait of a young girl just ripening 
into womanhood. I glanced at the painting hurriedly, and then 
closed my eyes. Why I did this was not at first apparent even to 



2$3 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

my own perception. But while my lids remained thus shut, I rail 
over in mind my reason for so shutting them. It was an impulsive 
movement to gain time for thought to make sure that my vision 
had not deceived me to calm and subdue my fancy for a more 
sober and more certain gaze. In a very few moments I again 
looked fixedly at the painting. 

That I now saw aright I could not and would not doubt; for the 
first flashing of the candles upon that canvas had seemed to dissi 
pate the dreamy stupor which was stealing over my senses, and to 
startle me at once into waking life. 

The portrait, I have already said, was that of a young girl. It 
was a mere head and shoulders, done in what is technically termed 
a vignette manner; much in the style of the favourite heads of Sully. 
The arms, the bosom, and even the ends of the radiant hair, melted 
imperceptibly into the vague yet deep shadow which formed the 
back ground of the whole. The frame was oval, richly gilded and 
filigreed in Moresque. As a thing of art nothing could be more 
admirable than the painting itself. But it could have been neither 
the execution of the work, nor the immortal beauty of the coun 
tenance, which had so suddenly and so vehemently moved me. 
Least of all could it have been that my fancy, shaken from its half 
slumber, had mistaken the head for that of a living person. I saw 
at once that the peculiarities of the design, of *& vignetting, and 
of the frame, must have instantly dispelled such Hea - must have 
prevented even its momentary entertainment. .fHinking earnestly 
upon these points, I remained, for an hour perhaps, half sitting, 
half reclining, with my vision riveted upon the portrait. At length, 
satisfied with the true secret of its effect, I fell back within the bed. 
I had found the spell of the picture in an absolute life-likeliness of 
expression, which, at first startling, finally confounded, subdued 
and appalled me. With deep and reverent awe I replaced the can 
delabrum in its former position. The cause of my deep agitation 
being thus shut from view, I sought eagerly the volume which 
discussed the paintings and their histories. Turning to the number 
which designated the oval portrait, I there read the vague and 
quaint words which follow : 

" She was a maiden of rarest beauty, and not more lovely than 
full of glee. And evil was the hour when she saw, and loved, and 
wedded the painter. He, passionate, studious, austere, and having 
already a bride in his Art ; she, a maiden of rarest beauty, and not 



THE OVAL PORTRAIT, 289 

more lovely than full of glee : all light and smiles, and frolicsome 
as the young fawn : loving and cherishing all things : hating only 
the Art which was her rival : dreading only the pallet and brushes 
and other untoward instruments which deprived her of the coun 
tenance of her lover. It was thus a terrible thing for this lady to 
hear the painter speak of his desire to pourtray even his young 
bride. But she was humble and obedient, and sat meekly for many 
weeks in the dark high turret-chamber where the light dripped 
upon the pale canvas only from overhead. But he, the painter, 
took glory in his work, which went on from hour to hour, and from 
day to day. And he was a passionate, and wild, and moody man, 
who became lost in reveries ; so that he would not see that the 
light which fell so ghastlily in that lone turret withered the health 
and the spirits of his bride, who pined visibly to all but him. Yet 
she smiled on and still on, uncomplainingly, because she saw that 
the painter (who had high renown), took a fervid and burning plea 
sure in his task, and wrought day and night to depict her who so 
loved him, yet who grew daily more dispirited and weak. And in 
sooth some who beheld the portrait spoke of its resemblance in low 
words, as of a mighty marvel, and a proof not less of the power of 
the painter than of his deep love for her whom he depicted so sur 
passingly well. But at length, as the labour drew nearer to its con 
clusion, there were admitted none into the turret ; for the painter 
had grown wild with the ardour of his work, and turned his eyes 
from the canvas rarely, even to regard the countenance of his wife. 
And he would not see that the tints which he spread upon the can 
vas were drawn from the cheeks of her who sat beside him. And 
when many weeks had passed, and but little remained to do, save 
one brush upon the mouth and one tint upon the eye, the spirit of 
the lady again flickered up as the flame within the socket of the 
lamp. And then the brash was given, and then the tint was 
placed ; and, for one moment, the painter stood entranced before 
the work which he had wrought; but in the next, while he yet gazed, 
he grew tremulous and very pallid, and aghast, and crying with a 
loud voice, This is indeed Life itself ! turned suddenly to regard 
his beloved iSfa was dead /" 



2QO WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 



THE ASSIGNATION, 

" Stay for me there ! I will not fail 

To meet thee in that hollow vale." 
[Exequy on the death of his wife, by Henry King, Bishop of Cliichester."] 

JLL-FATED and mysterious man ! bewildered in the bril 
liancy of thine own imagination, and fallen in the flames 
of thine own youth ! Again in fancy I behold thee ! Once 
more thy form hath risen before me ! not oh, not as thou art in 
the cold valley and shadow but as thou shouldst be squandering 
away a life of magnificent meditation in that city of dim visions, 
thine own Venice which is a star-beloved Elysium of the sea, and 
the wide windows of whose Palladian palaces look down with a 
deep and bitter meaning upon the secrets of her silent waters. Yes ! 
I repeat it as thou shouldst be. There are surely other worlds 
than this other thoughts than the thoughts of the multitude 
other speculations than the speculations of the sophist. Who then 
shall call thy conduct into question 1 who blame thee for thy vision 
ary hours, or denounce those occupations as a wasting away of life, 
which were but the overflowings of thine everlasting energies ? $ 

It was at Venice, beneath the covered archway there called the 
Ponte di /Sospiri, that I met for the third or fourth time the person 
of whom I speak. It is with a confused recollection that I bring 
to mind the circumstances of that meeting. Yet I remember ah ! 
how should I forget ? the deep midnight, the Bridge of Sighs, the 
beauty of woman, and the G enius of Romance that stalked up and 
down the narrow canal. 

It was a night of unusual gloom. The great clock of the Piazza 
had sounded the fifth hour of the Italian evening. The square of 
the Campanile lay silent and deserted, and the lights in the old 
Ducal Palace were dying fast away. I was returning home from the 
Piazetta, by way of the Grand Canal. But as my gondola arrived 
opposite the mouth of the canal San Marco, a female voice from its 
recesses broke suddenly upon the night, in one wild, hysterical, and 
long continued shriek. Startled at the sound, I sprang upon my 
feet : while the gondolier, letting slip his single oar, lost it in the 
pitchy darkness beyond a chance of recovery, and we were conse 
quently left to the guidance of the current which here sets from 
the greater into the smaller channel, Like some huge and sable- 



THE ASSIGN A TION. 291 

feathered condor, we were slowly drifting down towards the Bridge 
of Sighs, when a thousand flambeaux flashing from the windows, 
and down the staircases of the Ducal Palace, turned all at once 
that deep gloom into a livid and preternatural day. 

A child, slipping from the arms of its own mother, had fallen 
from an upper window of the lofty structure into the deep and dim 
canal. The quiet waters had closed placidly over their victim ; 
and, although my own gondola was the only one in sight, many a 
stout swimmer, already in the stream, was seeking in vain upon the 
surface, the treasure which was to be found, alas ! only within the 
abyss. Upon the broad black marble flagstones, at the entrance of the 
palace, and a few steps above the water, stood a figure which none 
who then saw can have ever since forgotten. It was the Marchesa 
Aphrodite the adoration of all Venice the gayest of the gay 
the most lovely where all were beautiful but still the young wife 
of the old and intriguing Mentoni, and the mother of that fair 
child, her first and only one, who now, deep beneath the murky 
water, was thinking in bitterness of heart upon her sweet caresses, 
and exhausting its little life in struggles to call upon her name. 

She stood alone. Her small, bare and silvery feet gleamed in 
the black mirror of marble beneath her, Her hair, not as yet more 
than half loosened for the night from its ball-room array, clustered, 
amid a shower of diamonds, round and round her classical head, 
in curls like those of the young hyacinth. A snowy-white and 
gauze-like drapery seemed to be nearly the sole covering to her 
delicate form ; but the mid-summer and midnight air was hot, 
sullen, and still, and no motion in the statue-like form itself, stirred 
even the folds of that raiment of very vapour which hung around 
it as the heavy marble hangs around the Niobe. Yet strange to 
say ! her large lustrous eyes were not turned downwards upon 
that grave wherein her brightest hope lay buried but riveted in 
a widely different direction ! The prison of the Old Republic is, I 
think, the stateliest building in all Venice but how could that lady 
gaze so fixedly upon it, when beneath her lay stifling her own child? 
Yon dark, gloomy niche, too, yawns right opposite her chamber 
window what, then, could there be in its shadows in its architec 
ture in its ivy-wreathed and solemn cornices that the Marchesa, 
di Mentoni had not wondered at a thousand times before? Non 
sense ! who does not remember that, at such a time as this, 
the eye, like a shattered mirror, multiplies the images of its sorrow, 

19 2 



292 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

and sees in innumerable far off places, the woe which is close at 
hand 1 

Many steps above the Marchesa, and within the arch of the 
water-gate, stood, in full dress, the satyr-like figure of Mentoni 
himself. He was occasionally occupied in thrumming a guitar, and 
seemed ennuye to the very death, as at intervals he gave directions 
for the recovery of his child. Stupified and aghast, I had myself 
no power to move from the upright position I had assumed upon 
first hearing the shriek, and must have presented to the eyes of the 
agitated group a spectral and ominous appearance, as with pale 
countenance and rigid limbs, I floated down among them in that 
funereal gondola. 

All efforts proved in vain. Many of the most energetic in the 
search were relaxing their exertions, and yielding to a gloomy 
sorrow. There seemed but little hope for the child ; (how much 
less than for the mother !) but now, from the interior of that dark 
niche which has been already mentioned as forming a part of the 
Old Republican prison, and as fronting the lattice of the Marchesa, 
a figure muffled in a cloak stepped out within reach of the light, 
and, pausing a moment upon the verge of the giddy descent, 
plunged headlong into the canal. As, in an instant afterwards, he 
stood with the still living and breathing child within his grasp, 
upon the marble flagstones by the side of the Marchesa, his cloak, 
heavy with the drenching water, became unfastened, and, falling 
in folds about his feet, discovered to the wonder-stricken spectators 
the graceful person of a very young man, with the sound of whose 
name the greater part of Europe was then ringing. 

2STo word spoke the deliverer. But the Marchesa ! She will now 
receive her child she will press it to her heart she will cling to 
its little form, and smother it with her caresses. Alas ! another s 
arms have taken it from the stranger another s arms have taken it 
away, and borne it afar off, unnoticed, into the palace ! And the 
Marchesa ! Her lip her beautiful lip trembles : tears are gather 
ing in her eyes those eyes which, like Pliny s acanthus, are " soft 
and almost liquid." Yes ! tears are gathering in those eyes and 
see ! the entire woman thrills throughout the soul, and the statue 
has started into life ! The pallor of the marble countenance, the 
swelling of the marble bosom, the very purity of the marble feet, 
we behold suddenly flushed over with a tide of ungovernable crim 
son ; and a slight shudder quivers about her delicate frame, as a 
gentle air at Napoli about the rich silver lilies in the grass. 



THE ASSIGNATION. 293 

Why should that lady blush 1 ? To this demand there is no 
answer except that, having left, in the eager haste and terror of a 
mother s heart, the privacy of her own boudoir, she has neglected 
to enthral her tiny feet in their slippers, and utterly forgotten to 
throw over her Venetian shoulders that drapery which is their due. 
What other possible reason could there have been for her so blush 
ing 1 for the glance of those wild appealing eyes ? for the unusual 
tumult of that throbbing bosom? for the convulsive pressure of 
that trembling hand 1- -that hand which fell, as Mentoni turned 
into the palace, accidentally, upon the hand of the stranger. What 
reason could there have been for the low the singularly low tone 
of those unmeaning words which the lady uttered hurriedly in bid 
ding him adieu 1 " Thou hast conquered," she said, or the murmurs 
of the water deceived me ; " thou hast conquered one hour after 
sunrise we shall meet so let it be !" 

##*"* 

The tumult had subsided, the lights had died away within the 
palace, and the stranger, whom I now recognised, stood alone upon 
the flags. He shook with inconceivable agitation, and his eye 
glanced around in search of a gondola. I could not do less than 
offer him the service of my own ; and he accepted the civility. 
Having obtained an oar at the water-gate, we proceeded together 
to his residence, while he rapidly recovered his self-possession, and 
spoke of our former slight acquaintance in terms of great apparent 
cordiality. 

There are some subjects upon which I take pleasure in being 
minute. The person of the stranger let me call him by this title, 
who to all the world was still a stranger the person of the stranger 
is one of these subjects. In height he might have been below rather 
than above the medium size : although there were moments of in 
tense passion when his frame actually expanded and belied the 
assertion. The light, almost slender symmetry of his figure, 
promised more of that ready activity which he evinced at the 
Bridge of Sighs, than of that Herculean strength which he has 
been known to wield without an effort, upon occasions of more 
dangerous emergency. With the mouth and chin of a deity 
singular, wild, full, liquid eyes, whose shadows varied from pure 
hazel to intense and brilliant jet and a profusion of curling, black 
hair, from which a forehead of unusual breadth gleamed forth at 
intervals all light arid ivory his were features than which I have 



294 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN PO&. 

seen none more classically regular, except, perhaps, the marble ones 
of the Emperor Commodus. Yet his countenance was, never 
theless, one of those which all men have seen at some period of 
their lives, and have never afterwards seen again. It had no pecu 
liar it had no settled predominant expression to be fastened upon 
the memory; a countenance seen and instantly forgotten but 
forgotten with a vague and never-ceasing desire of recalling it to 
mind. Not that the spirit of each rapid passion failed, at any time, 
to throw its own distinct image upon the mirror of that face but 
that the mirror, mirror-like, retained no vestige of the passion, 
when the passion had departed. 

Upon leaving him on the night of our adventure, he solicited me, 
in what I thought an urgent manner, to call upon him very early 
the next morning. Shortly after sunrise, I found myself accord 
ingly at his Palazzo, one of those huge structures of gloomy, yet 
fantastic pomp, which tower above the waters of the Grand Canal 
in the vicinity of the Rialto. I was shown up a broad winding 
staircase of mosaics, into an apartment whose unparalleled splen 
dour burst through the opening door with an actual glare, making 
me blind and dizzy with luxuriousness. 

I knew my acquaintance to be wealthy. Report had spoken of 
his possessions in terms which I had even ventured to call terms of 
ridiculous exaggeration. But as I gazed about me, I could not 
bring myself to believe that the wealth of any subject in Europe 
could have supplied the princely magnificence which burned and 
blazed around. 

Although, as I say, the sun had arisen, yet the room was still 
brilliantly lighted up. I judge from this circumstance, as well as 
from an air of exhaustion in the countenance of my friend, that he 
had not retired to bed during the whole of the preceding night. In 
the architecture and embellishments of the chamber, the evident 
design had been to dazzle and astound. Little attention had been 
paid to the decora of what is technically called keeping, or to the 
proprieties of nationality. The eye wandered from object to object, 
and rested upon none neither the grotesques of the Greek painters, 
nor the sculptures of the best Italian days, nor the huge carvings 
of untutored Egypt. Rich draperies in every part of the room 
trembled to the vibration of low, melancholy music, whose origin 
was not to be discovered. The senses were oppressed by mingled 
and conflicting perfumes, reeking up from strange convolute cen- 



THE ASSIGNATION. 295 

sers, together with multitudinous flaring and flickering tongues of 
emerald and violet fire. The rays of the newly risen sun poured in. 
upon the whole, through windows, formed each of a single pane of 
crimson-tinted glass. Glancing to and fro, in a thousand reflections, 
from curtains which rolled from their cornices like cataracts of 
molten silver, the beams of natural glory mingled at length fitfully 
with the artificial light, and lay weltering in subdued masses upon 
a carpet of rich, liquid-looking cloth of Chili gold. 

" Ha ! ha ! ha ! ha ! ha ! ha !" laughed the proprietor, motion 
ing me to a seat as I entered the room, and throwing himself back 
at full length upon an ottoman. " I see," said he, perceiving that 
I could not immediately reconcile myself to the bienseance of so 
singular a welcome " I see you are astonished at my apartment 
at my statues my pictures my originality of conception in archi 
tecture and upholstery ! absolutely drunk, eh, with my magnifi 
cence 1 But pardon me, my dear sir," (here his tone of voice dropped 
to the very spirit of cordiality,) " pardon me for my uncharitable 
laughter. You appeared so utterly astonished. Besides, some 
things are so completely ludicrous, that a man must laugh, or die. 
To die laughing, must be the most glorious of all glorious deaths ! 
Sir Thomas More a very fine man was Sir Thomas More Sir 
Thomas More died laughing, you remember. Also in the Absurdi 
ties of Ravisius Textor, there is a long list of characters who came 
to the same magnificent end. Do you know, however," continued 
he, musingly, " that at Sparta (which is now Palaeochori), at Sparta, 
I say, to the west of the citadel, among a chaos of scarcely visible 
ruins, is a kind of socle, upon which are still legible the letters 
AASM. They are undoubtedly part of TEAASMA. Now, at Sparta, 
were a thousand temples and shrines to a thousand different divini 
ties. How exceedingly strange that the altar of Laughter should 
have survived all the others ! But in the present instance," he 
resumed, with a singular alteration of voice and manner, " I have 
no right to be merry at your expense. You might well have been 
amazed. Europe cannot produce anything so fine as this, my little 
regal cabinet. My other apartments are by no means of the same 
order mere ultras of fashionable insipidity. This is better than 
fashion is it not? Yet this has but to be seen to become the rage 
that is, with those who could afford it at the cost of their entire 
patrimony. I have guarded, however, against any such profana 
tion. With one exception, you are the only human being besides 



96 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

myself and my valet, who lias been admitted within the mysteries 
of these imperial precincts, since they have been bedizened as you 
see!" 

I bowed in acknowledgment for the overpowering sense of 
splendour and perfume, and music, together with the unexpected 
eccentricity of his address and manner, prevented me from express 
ing, in words, my appreciation of what I might have construed into 
a compliment. 

" Here," he resumed, arising and leaning on my arm as he saun 
tered around the apartment, " here are paintings from the Greeks 
to Cimabue, and from Cimabue to the present hour. Many are 
chosen, as you see, with little deference to the opinions of virtu. 
They are all, however, fitting tapestry for a chamber such as this. 
Here, too, are some chef- d ceuvres of the unknown great ; and here, 
unfinished designs by men, celebrated in their day, whose very 
names the perspicacity of the academies has left to silence and to 
me. What think you," said he, turning abruptly as he spoke 
"what think you of this Madonna dellaPietaf 

" It is Guide s own !" I said, with all the enthusiasm of my nature, 
for I had been poring intently over its surpassing loveliness. " It 
is Guide s own ! how could you have obtained it ? she is un 
doubtedly in painting what the Venus is in sculpture." 

" Ha !" said he, thoughtfully, " the Venus the beautiful Venus ? 
the Venus of the Medici? she of the diminutive head and the 
gilded hair 1 Part of the left arm" (here his voice dropped so as to 
be heard with difficulty,) "and all the right, are restorations ; and in 
the coquetry of that right arm lies, I think, the quintessence of all 
affectation. Give me the Canova ! The Apollo, too, is a copy 
there can be no doubt of it blind fool that I am, who cannot 
behold the boasted inspiration of the Apollo ! I cannot help pity 
me ! I cannot help preferring the Antinous. Was it not Socrates 
who said that the statuary found his statue in the block of marble ? 
Then Michael Angelo was by no means original in his couplet 

" Non ha 1 ottimo artista alcmi concetto 

Che un marmo solo in se non circunscriva. " 

It has been, or should be remarked, that, in the manner of the 
true gentleman, we are always aware of a difference from the bear 
ing of the vulgar, without being at once precisely able to determine 
in what such difference consists. Allowing the remark to have 
applied in its full force to the outward demeanour of my acquaint- 



THE ASSIGN A TTO.V. 297 

ance, I felt it, on that eventful morning, still more fully applicable 
to his moral temperament and character. Nor can I better define 
that peculiarity of spirit which seemed to place him so essentially 
apart from all other human beings, than by calling it a habit of 
intense and continual thought, pervading even his most trivial 
actions intruding upon his moments of dalliance and interweav 
ing itself with his very flashes of merriment like adders which 
writhe from out the eyes of the grinning masks in the cornices 
around the temples of Persepolis. 

I could not help, however, repeatedly observing, through the 
mingled tone of levity and solemnity with which he rapidly 
descanted upon matters of little importance, a certain air of trepi 
dation a degree of nervous unction in action and in speech an 
unquiet excitability of manner which appeared to me at all times 
unaccountable, and upon some occasions even filled me with alarm. 
Frequently, too, pausing in the middle of a sentence whose com 
mencement he had apparently forgotten, he seemed to be listening 
in the deepest attention, as if either in momentary expectation of 
a visitor, or to sounds which must have had existence in his imagi 
nation alone. 

It was during one of these reveries or pauses of apparent ab 
straction, that, in turning over a page of the poet and scholar 
Politian s beautiful tragedy, " The Orfeo," (the first native Italian 
tragedy,) which lay near me upon an ottoman, I discovered a pas 
sage underlined in pencil. It was a passage towards the end of the 
third act a passage of the most heart-stirring excitement a pas 
sage which, although tainted with impurity, no man shall read 
without a thrill of novel emotion no woman without a sigh. The 
whole page was blotted with fresh tears ; and, upon the opposite 
interleaf, were the following English lines, written in a hand so 
very different from the peculiar characters of my acquaintance, that 
I had some difficulty in recognising it as his own : 

Thou wast that all to me, love, 

For which my soul did pine 
A green isle in the sea, love, 

A fountain and a shrine, 
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers ; 

And all the flowers were mine. 

Ah, dream too bright to last ! 

Ah, starry Hope, that didst arise 
But to be overcast ! 



298 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

A voice from out the Future cries, 
"Onward!" but o er the Past 

(Dim gulf !) my spirit hovering lies, 
Mute motionless aghast ! 

For alas ! alas ! with me 

The light of life is o er. 
" No more no more no more," 

(Such language holds the solemn sea 
To the sands upon the shore, ) 

Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree, 
Or the stricken eagle soar ! 

Now all my hours are trances ; 

And all my nightly dreams 
Are where the dark eye glances, 

And where thy footstep gleams, 
In what ethereal dances, 

By what Italian streams. 

Alas ! for that accursed time 

They bore thee o er the billow, 
From Love to titled age and crime, 

And an unholy pillow ! 
From me, and from our misty clime, 

Where weeps the silver willow ! 

That these lines were written in English a language with 
which I had not believed their author acquainted afforded me 
little matter for surprise. I was too well aware of the extent of 
his acquirements, and of the singular pleasure lie took in concealing 
them from observation, to be astonished at aay similar discovery ; 
but the place of date, I must confess, occasioned me no little 
amazement. It had been originally written London, and after 
wards carefully overscored not, however, so effectually as to con 
ceal the word from a scrutinizing eye. I say, this occasioned me 
no little amazement ; for I well remember that, in a former con 
versation with my friend, I particularly inquired if he had at any 
time met in London the Marchesa di Mentoni, (who for some 
years previous to her marriage had resided in that city,) when his 
answer, if I mistake not, gave me to understand that he had never 
visited the metropolis of Great Britain. I might as well here 
mention, that I have more than once heard, (without, of course, 
giving credit to a report involving so many improbabilities,) that 
the person of whom I speak was not only by birth, but in educa 
tion, an Englishman. 

* o 



THE ASSIGNA TION. 299 

" There is one painting," said he, without being aware of my 
notice of the tragedy " there is still one painting which you have 
not seen." And throwing aside a drapery, he discovered a full- 
length portrait of the Marchesa Aphrodite. 

Human art could have done no more in the delineation of her 
superhuman beauty. The same ethereal figure which stood before 
rue the preceding night upon the steps of the Ducal Palace, stood 
before me once again. But in the expression of the countenance, 
which was beaming all over with smiles, there still lurked (incom 
prehensible anomaly !) that fitful stain of melancholy which will 
ever be found inseparable from the perfection of the beautiful. 
Her right arm lay folded over her bosom. With her left she 
pointed downward to a curiously fashioned vase. One small, fairy 
foot, alone visible, barely touched the earth; and scarcely discern 
ible in the brilliant atmosphere which seemed to encircle and en 
shrine her loveliness, floated a pair of the most delicately imagined 
wings. My glance fell from the painting to the figure of my 
friend, and the vigorous words of Chapman s Bussy D 1 Ambois, 
quivered instinctively upon my lips : 

" He is up 

There like a Roman statue ! He will stand 
Till Death hath made him marble !" 

" Come," he said at length, turning towards a table of richly 
enamelled and massive silver, upon which were a few goblets fan 
tastically stained, together with two large Etruscan vases, fashioned 
in the same extraordinary model as that in the foreground of 
the portrait, and filled with what I supposed to be Johannisberger. 
" Come," he said, abruptly, " let us drink ! It is early but let 
us drink. It is indeed early," he continued, musingly, as a cherub 
with a heavy golden hammer made the apartment ring with the 
first hour after sunrise : "it is indeed early but what matters it 1 
let us drink ! Let us pour out an offering to yon solemn sun which 
these gaudy lamps and censers are so eager to subdue !" And, 
having made me pledge him in a bumper, he swallowed in rapid 
succession several goblets of the wine. 

" To dream," he continued, resuming the tone of his desultory 
conversation, as he held up to the rich light of a censer one of the 
magnificent vases "to dream has been the business of my life. 
I have therefore framed for myself, as you see, a bower of dreams. 
In the heart of Venice could I have erected a better 1 You behold 



300 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

around you, it is true, a medley of architectural embellishments. 
The chastity of Ionia is offended by antediluvian devices, and the 
sphynxes of Egypt are outstretched upon carpets of gold. Yet the 
effect is incongruous to the timid alone. Proprieties of place, and 
especially of time, are the bugbears which terrify mankind from 
the contemplation of the magnificent. Once I was myself a 
decorist ; but that sublimation of folly has palled upon my soul. 
All this is now the fitter for my purpose. Like these arabesque 
censers, my spirit is writhing in fire, and the delirium of this scene 
is fashioning me for the wilder vi sions of that land of real dreams 
whither I am now rapidly departing." He here paused abruptly, 
bent his head to his bosom, and seemed to listen to a sound which 
I could not hear. At length, erecting his frame, he looked, up 
wards, and ejaculated the lines of the Bishop of Chichester ; 

* Stay for me there ! I will not fail 
To meet thee in that hollow vale." 

In the next instant, confessing the power of the wine, he threw 
himself at full-length upon an ottoman. 

A quick step was now heard upon the staircase, and a loud 
knock at the door rapidly succeeded. I was hastening to antici 
pate a second disturbance, when a page of Mentoni s household 
burst into the room, and faltered out, in a voice choking with 
emotion, the incoherent words, " My mistress ! my mistress ! 
Poisoned ! poisoned ! Oh, beautiful oh, beautiful Aphrodite ! *. 

Bewildered, I flew to the ottoman, and endeavoured to arouse 
the sleeper to a sense of the startling intelligence. But his limbs 
were rigid his lips were livid his lately beaming eyes were 
riveted in death. I staggered back towards the table my hand 
fell upon a cracked and blackened goblet and a conciousness of 
the entire and terrible truth flashed suddenly over my soul. 



THE TELL TALE HEART, 

RUE ! nervous very, very dreadfully nervous I had been 
and am ; but why mil you say that I am mad ? The 

v diseasehad sharpened my senses not destroyed not dulled 
them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all 
things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in 



THE TELL TALE HEART. 301 

hell. How, then, am I mad ] Hearken ! and observe how 
healthily how calmly I can tell you the whole story. 

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain ; but 
once conceived, it haunted me day and night. L Object there was 
none. ^Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had 
never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold 
had no desire. I think it was his eye ! yes, it was this ! One of 
his eyes resembled that of a vulture a pale blue eye, with a film 
over it. "^Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold ; and so by 
degrees very gradually I made up my mind to take the life of 
the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye for ever. 

Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know 
nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen 
how wisely I proceeded with what caution with what foresight 
with what dissimulation I went to work ! I was never kinder 
to the old man than during the whole week before 1 killed him. 
And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door 
and opened it oh, so gently ! And then when I had made an 
opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, 
closed, so that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. 
Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in ! 
I moved it slowly very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb 
the old man s sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head 
within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his 
bed. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this"? And 
then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern 
cautiously oh, so cautiously cautiously (for the hinges creaked) 
I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the 
vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights every night 
j ast at midnight but I found the eye always closed ; and so it was 
impossible to do the work ; for it was not the old man who vexed 
me, but his Evil Eye^ And every morning, when the day broke, I 
went boldly into the chamber, and spoke courageously to him, 
calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he had 
passed the night. So you see he would have been a very profound 
old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I 
looked in upon him while he slept. 

Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in 
opening the door. A watch s minute hand moves more quickly 
than did mine. Never before that night had I felt the extent of 



302 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

my own powers of my sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feel 
ings of triumph. To think that there I was, opening the door, little 
by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. 
I fairly chuckled at the idea ; and perhaps he heard me ; for he 
moved on the bed suddenly, as if startled. Now you may think 
that I drew back but no. His room was as black as pitch with 
the thick darkness (for the shutters were close fastened, through 
fear of robbers), and so I knew that he could not see the opening 
of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily. 

I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my 
thumb slipped upon the tin fastening, and the old man sprang up 
in the bed, crying out" Who s there V 

I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not 
move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down. 
He was still sitting up in the bed, listening ; just as I have done, 
night after night, hearkening to the death-watches in the wall. ^ 

Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of 
mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief oh, no ! it 
was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul 
when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, 
just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from 
my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors 
that distracted me. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old 
man felt, and pitied him, although I chuckled at heart. I knew that 
he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise, when he 
had turned in the bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon 
him. He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. 
He had been saying to himself "It is nothing but the wind in the 
chimney it is only a mouse crossing the floor," or, " it is merely 
a cricket which has made a single chirp." Yes, he has been trying 
to comfort himself with these suppositions : but he had found 
all in vain. All in vain ; because Death, in approaching him, had 
stalked with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the vic 
tim. And it was the mournful influence of the unperceived shadow 
that caused him to feel, although he neither saw nor heard to 
feel the presence of my head within the room. 

When I had waited a long time, very patiently, without hearing 
him lie down, I resolved to open a little a very, very little crevice 
in the lantern. So I opened it you cannot imagine how stealthily, 
stealthily until, at length, a single dim ray, like the thread of the 
spider, shot from out the crevice and fell upon the vulture eye. 



THE TELL TALE HEART. 303 

It was open wide, wide open and I grew furious as I gazed 
upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness all a dull blue, with a 
hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones ; but 
I could see nothing else of the old man s face or person : for I had 
directed the ray, as if by instinct, precisely upon the damned spot. 

And now have I not told you that what you mistake for madness v- 
is but over acuteness of the senses 1 now, I say, there came to my 
ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped 
in cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the 
old man s heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum 
stimulates the soldier into courage. 

But even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely breathed. I 
held the lantern motionless. I tried how steadily I could maintain 
the ray upon the eye. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart in 
creased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every 
instant. The old man s terror must have been extreme ! It grew 
louder, I say, louder every moment ! do you mark me well ] I 
have told you that I am nervous : so I am. And now, at the dead 
hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so 
strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, 
for some minutes longer, I refrained and stood still. But the beat 
ing grew louder, louder ! I thought the heart must burst. And 
now a new anxiety seized me the sound would be heard by a neigh 
bour ! The old man s hour had come ! With a loud yell I threw 
open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once 
once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled 
the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so 
far done. But, for many minutes, the heart beat on with a muffled 
sound. This, however, did not vex me ; it would not be heard 
through the wall. At length it ceased. The old man was dead. I 
removed the bed and examined the corpse. Yes, he was stone, 
stone dead. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there 
many minutes. There was no pulsation. He was stone dead. His 
eye would trouble me no more. 

If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I de 
scribe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. 
The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all 
I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and 
the legs. 

I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber 



304 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the 
boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye not even his 
could have detected anything wrong. There was nothing to wash 
out no stain of any kind no blood-spot whatever. I had been too 
wary for that. A tub had caught all ha ! ha ! 

When I had made an end of these labours, it was four o clock 
still dark as midnight. As the bell sounded the hour, there came a 
knocking at the street door. I went down to open it with a light 
heart, for what had I now to fear ? There entered three men, who 
introduced themselves with perfect suavity, as officers of the police. 
A shriek had been heard by a neighbour during the night; suspicion 
of foul play had been aroused ; information had been lodged at the 
police office, and they (the officers) had been deputed to search the 
premises. 

I smiled for what had I to fear 1 ? I bade the gentlemen welcome. 
The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I men 
tioned, was absent in the country. I took my visitors all over the 
house. I bade them search search well. I led them, at length, to 
his chamber. I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed. In 
the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, 
and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, 
in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat 
upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim 

The officers were satisfied. My manner had convinced them. I 
was singularly at ease. They sat, and while I answered cheerily, 
they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting 
pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ring 
ing in my ears : but still they sat and still chatted. The ringing 
became more distinct : it continued and became more distinct : I 
talked more freely to get rid of the feeling : but it continued and 
gained definitiveness-- until, at length, I found that the noise was 
not within my ears. 

No doubt I now grew very pale ; but I talked more fluently, 
and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased and what 
could I do *? It was a low, dull, quick sound much such a sound 
as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath 
and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly more 
vehemently; but the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued 
about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the 
noise steadily increased. Why would they not be gone 1 I paced 



THE TELL-TALE HEART. 305 

the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the 
observations of the men but the noise steadily increased. Oh God ! 
what could I do ? I foamed I raved I swore! I swung the chair 
upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but 
the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder 
louder louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and 
smiled. Was it possible they heard not ? Almighty God ! no, 
no ! They heard ! they suspected ! they knew /they were 
making a mockery of my horror ! this I thought, and this I think. 
But anything was better than this agony ! Anything was more 
tolerable than this derision ! I could bear those hypocritical smiles 
no longer ! I felt that I must scream or die ! and now again ! 
hark ! louder ! louder ! louder ! louder / 

" Villains !" I shrieked, " dissemble no more ! I admit the deed ! 
tear up the planks! here, here ! it is the beating of his hideous 
heart!" 



WILLIAM WILSON. 

" What say of it ? what say, CONSCIENCE grim, 
That spectre in my path ?" 

Chamberlain s Pharronida. 

ET me call myself, for the present, William Wilson. The 
fair page now lying before me need not be sullied with my 
real appellation. This has been already too much an 
object for the scorn for the horror for the detestation of my race 
To the uttermost regions of the globe have not the indignant winds 
bruited its unparalleled infamy 1 Oh, outcast of all outcasts most 
abandoned! to the earth art thou not for ever dead? to its honours 
to its flowers, to its golden aspirations 1 and a cloud, dense 
dismal, and limitless, does it not hang eternally between thy 
hopes and heaven 1 

I would not, if I could, here or to-day, embody a record of my 
later years of unspeakable misery, and unpardonable crime. This 
epoch these later years took unto themselves a sudden elevation 
in turpitude, whose origin alone it is my present purpose to assign, 
Men usually grow base by degrees. From me in an instant, all 
virtue dropped bodily as a mantle. From comparatively trivial 
wickedness I passed, with the stride of a giant, into more than the 
enormities of an Elah-Gabalus. What chance what one event 

20 



3 o6 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

brought tliis evil thing to pass, bear with me while I relate. Death 
approaches ; and the shadow which foreruns him has thrown a 
softening influence over my spirit. I long, in passing through the 
dim valley, for the sympathy I had nearly said for the pity of 
my fellow men. I would fain have them believe that I have been, 
in some measure, the slave of circumstances beyond human control. 
I would wish them to seek out for me, in the details I am about to 
give, some little oasis si fatality amid a wilderness of error. I would 
have them allow what they cannot refrain from allowing that, 
although temptation may have erewhile existed as great, man was 
never thus, at least tempted before certainly, never thus fell. And 
is it therefore that he has never thus suffered ? Have I not indeed 
been living in a dream? And am I not now dying a victim to 
the horror and the mystery of the wildest of all sublunary visions *? 
I am the descendant of a race whose imaginative and easily 
excitable temperament has at all times rendered them remarkable; 
and, in my earliest infancy, I gave evidence of having fully in 
herited the family character. As I advanced in years it was more 
strongly developed ; becoming, for many reasons, a cause of serious 
disquietude to my friends, .and of positive injury to myself. I grew 
self-willed, addicted to the wildest caprices, and a prey to the most 
ungovernable passions. Weak-minded, and beset with constitu 
tional infirmities akin to my own, my parents could do but little 
to check the evil propensities which distinguished me. Some feeble 
and ill-directed efforts resulted in complete failure on their part, 
and, of course, in total triumph on mine. Thenceforward, my voice 
was a household law ; and at an age when few children have aban 
doned their leading-strings, I was left to the guidance of my own 
will, and became, in all but name, the master of my own actions. 

My earliest recollections of a school-life, are connected with a 
large, rambling, Elizabethan house, in a misty-looking village of 
England, where were a vast number of gigantic and gnarled trees, 
and where all the houses were excessively ancient. In truth, it 
was a dream-like and spirit-soothing place, that venerable old town. 
At this moment, in fancy, I feel the refreshing chilliness of its 
deeply-shadowed avenues, inhale the fragrance of its thousand 
shrubberies, and thrill anew with undefinable delight, at the deep 
hollow note of the church-bell, breaking each hour, with sullen and 
sudden roar, upon the stillness of the dusky atmosphere in which 
the fretted Gothic steeple lay imbedded and asleep. 



WILLIAM WILSON: 307 

It gives me, perhaps as much, of pleasure as I can now in any 
manner experience, to dwell upon minute recollections of the school 
and its concerns. Steeped in misery as I am misery, alas ! only 
too real I shall be pardoned for seeking relief, however slight and 
temporary, in the weakness of a few rambling details. These, 
moreover, utterly trivial, and even ridiculous in themselves, assume, 
to my fancy, adventitious importance, as connected with a period 
and a locality when and where I recognise the first ambiguous 
monitions of the destiny which afterwards so fully overshadowed 
me. Let me then remember. 

The house, I have said, was old and irregular. The grounds 
were extensive, and a high and solid brick wall, topped with a bed 
of mortar and broken glass, encompassed the whole. This prison-like 
rampart formed the_limit of our domain; beyond it we saw but 
thrice a week once every Saturday afternoon, when, attended by 
two ushers, we were permitted to take brief walks in a body through 
some of the neighbouring fields and twice during Sunday, when 
we were paraded in the same formal manner to the morning and 
evening service in the one church of the village. Of this church 
the principal of our school was pastor. With how deep a spirit of 
wonder and perplexity was I wont to regard him from our remote 
pew in the gallery, as with step solemn and slow, he ascended the 
pulpit! This reverend man, with countenance so demurely benign, 
with robes so glossy and so clerically flowing, with wig so minutely 
powdered, so rigid and so vast, could this be he who, of late, 
with sour visage, and in snuffy habiliments, administered, ferule 
in hand, the Draconian Laws of the academy 1 ? Oh, gigantic 
paradox, too utterly monstrous for solution ! 

At an angle of the ponderous wall frowned a more ponderous 
gate. It was riveted and studded with iron bolts, and surmounted 
with jagged iron spikes. What impressions of deep awe did it 
inspire ! It was never opened save for the three periodical egres 
sions and ingressions already mentioned ; then, in every creak of 
its mighty hinges, we found a plenitude of mystery a world of 
matter for solemn remark, or for more solemn meditation. 

The extensive enclosure was irregular in form, having many 

capacious recesses. Of these, three or four of the largest constituted 

, the play-ground. It was level, and covered with fine hard gravel. 

I well remember it had no trees, nor benches, nor any thing similar 

within it. Of course it was in the rear of the house. In front lay 

202 



3oS WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN PO&. 

a small parterre, planted with box and other shrubs ; but through 
this sacred division we passed only upon rare occasions indeed- 
such as a first advent to school or final departure thence, or perhaps 
when a parent or friend having called for us, we joyfully took our 
way home for the Christmas or Midsummer holydays. 

But the house ! how quaint an old building was this ! to me 
how veritably a palace of enchantment ! There was really no end 
to its windings to its incomprehensible sub-divisions. It was 
difficult, at any given time, to say with certainty upon which of its 
two stories one happened to be. From each room to every other 
there were sure to be found three or four steps either in ascent or 
descent. Then the lateral branches were innumerable incon 
ceivable and so returning in upon themselves, that our most exact 
ideas in regard to the whole mansion were not very far different 
from those with which we pondered upon infinity. During the five 
years of my residence here, I was never able to ascertain with 
precision in what remote locality lay the little sleeping apartment 
assigned to myself and some eighteen or twenty other scholars. 

The school-room was the largest in the house I could not help 
thinking, in the world. It was very long, narrow, and dismally low, 
with pointed Gothic windows and a ceiling of oak. In a remote 
and terror-inspiring angle was a square enclosure of eight or ten 
feet, comprising the sanctum, " during hours," of our principal, the 
Reverend Dr. Bransby. It was a solid structure, with massy door, 
sooner than open which in the absence of the " Dominie," we would 
all have willingly perished by the peine forte et dure. In other 
angles were two similar boxes, far less reverenced, indeed, but still 
greatly matters of awe. One of these was the pulpit of the 
" classical "usher, bne of the " English and mathematical." Inter* 
spersed about the room, crossing and recrossing in endless irregu 
larity, were innumerable benches and desks, black, ancient, and 
time-worn, piled desperately with much-bethumbed books, and so 
beseamed with initial letters, names at full length, grotesque figures, 
and other multiplied efforts of the knife, as to have entirely lost 
what little of original form might have been their portion in days 
long departed. A huge bucket with water stood at one extremity of 
the room, and a clock of stupendous dimensions at the other. 

Encompassed by the massy walls of this venerable academy, I 
passed, yet not in tedium or disgust, the years of the third lustrum 
of my life. The teeming brain of childhood requires no external 



WILLIAM WILSON. 309 

world of incident to occupy or amuse it ; and the apparently dis 
mal monotony of a school was replete with more intense excitement 
than my riper youth has derived from luxury, or my full manhood 
from crime. Yet I must believe that my first mental development 
had in it much of the uncommon even much of the outre. Upon 
mankind at large the events of very early existence rarely leave in 
mature age any definite impression. All is gray shadow a weak 
and irregular remembrance an indistinct regathering of feeble 
pleasures and phantasmagoric pains. With me this is not so. In 
childhood I must have felt with the energy of a man what I now 
find stamped upon memory in lines as vivid, as deep, and as 
durable as th^ exergues of the Carthagenian medals. 

Yet in fact in the fact of the world s view how little was there 
to remember ! The morning s awakening, the nightly summons to 
bed ; the connings, the recitations ; the periodical half -holidays, 
and perambulations ; the play-ground, with its broils, its pastimes, 
its intrigues ; these, by a mental sorcery long forgotten, were 
made to involve a wilderness of sensation, a world of rich incident, 
an universe of varied emotion, of excitement the most passionate 
and spirit-stirring. " Oh, le Ion temps, que ce siecle defer /" 

In truth, the ardour, the enthusiasm, and the imperiousness of 
my disposition, soon rendered me a marked character among my 
schoolmates, and by slow but natural gradations gave me an 
ascendancy over all not greatly older than myself ; over all with 
a single exception. This exception was found in the person of a 
scholar, who, although no relation, bore the same Christian and 
surname as myself ; a circumstance, in fact, little remarkable ; 
for, notwithstanding a noble descent, mine was one of those every 
day appellations which seem, by prescriptive right, to have been, 
time out of mind, the common property of the mob. In this nar 
rative I have therefore designated myself as William Wilson, a 
fictitious title not very dissimilar to the real. My namesake alone, 
of those who in school-phraseology constituted "our set," pre 
sumed to compete with me in the studies of the class in the 
sports and broils of the play-ground to refuse implicit belief in 
my assertions, and submission to my will indeed, to interfere with 
my arbitrary dictation in any respect whatsoever. If there is on 
earth a supreme and unqualified despotism, it is the despotism of 
a master-mind in boyhood over the less energetic spirits of its 
companions. 



310 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

Wilson s rebellion was to me a source of the greatest embarrass 
ment ; the more so as, in spite of the bravado with which in public 
I made a point of treating him and his pretensions, I secretly felt 
that I feared him, and could not help thinking the equality which 
he maintained so easily with myself, a proof of his true superiority; 
since not to be overcome cost me a perpetual struggle. Yet this 
superiority even this equality was in truth acknowledged by 
no one but myself ; our associates, by some unaccountable blind- 

/ ness, seemed not even to suspect it. Indeed, his competition, his 
resistance, and especially his impertinent and dogged interference 
with my purposes, were not more pointed than private. He 
appeared to be destitute alike of the ambition which urged, and 
of the passionate energy of mind which enabled me to excel. In 
his rivalry he might have been supposed actuated solely by a 

v whimsical desire to thwart, astonish, or mortify myself ; although 
there were times when I could not help observing, with a feeling 
made up of wonder, abasement, and pique, that he mingled with 
his injuries, his insults, or his contradictions, a certain most inap 
propriate, and assuredly most unwelcome q/ection.ateness of manner. 
I could only conceive this singular behaviour to arise from a con 
summate self-conceit assuming the vulgar airs of patronage and 
protection. 

Perhaps it was this latter trait in Wilson s conduct, conjoined 
with our identity of name, and the mere accident of our having 
entered the school upon the same day, which set afloat the notion 
that we were brothers, among the senior classes in the academy. 
These do not usually inquire with much strictness into the affairs 
of their juniors. I have before said, or should have said, that 
Wilson was not in the most remote degree connected with my 
family. But assuredly if we had been brothers we must have 
been twins ; for, after leaving Dr. Bransby s, I casually learned 
that my namesake was born on the nineteenth of January, 1813 
and this is a somewhat remarkable coincidence : for the day is 
precisely that of my own nativity. 

It may seem strange that in spite of the continual anxiety occa 
sioned me by the rivalry of Wilson, and his intolerable spirit of 
contradiction, I could not bring myself to hate him altogether.- 
We had, to be sure, nearly every day a quarrel in which, yielding 
me publicly the palm of victory, he, in some manner, contrived to 
make me feel that it was he who had deserved it - 3 yet a sense of 



WILLIAM WILSON. 31? 

pride on my part, and a veritable dignity on his own, kept us 
always upon what are called "speaking terms," while there v.pre 
many points of strong congeniality ih our tempers, operating to 
awake in me a sentiment which our position alone, perhaps, pre 
vented from ripening into friendship. It is difficult, indeed, to 
define, or even to describe, my real feelings towards him. They 
formed a motley and heterogeneous admixture ; some potnlnnt 
animosity, which was not yet hatred, some esteem, more res; ; -r, 
much fear, with a world of uneasy curiosity. To the moralist it 
will be unnecessary to say, in addition, that Wilson and myself 
were the most inseparable of companions. 

It was no doubt the anomalous state of affairs existing between 
us, which turned all my attacks upon him (and they were many, 
either open or covert) into the channel of banter or practical joke 
(giving pain while assuming the aspect of mere fun) rather than 
into a more serious and determined hostility. But my endeavours 
on this head were by no means uniformly successful, even when my 
plans were the most wittily concocted ; for my namesake had much 
about him, in character, of that unassuming and quiet austerity 
which, while enjoying the poignancy of its own jokes, has no heel of 
Achilles in itself, and absolutely refuses to be laughed at. I could 
find, indeed, but one vulnerable point, and that, lying in a personal 
peculiarity, arising, perhaps, from constitutional disease, would 
have been spared by any antagonist less at his wit s end than my 
self ; my rival had a weakness in the f aucial or guttural organs, 
which precluded him from raising his voice at any time above a 
very low whisper. Of this defect I did not fail to take what poor 
advantage lay in my power. 

Wilson s retaliations in kind were many ; and there was one form 
of his practical wit that disturbed me beyond measure. How his 
sagacity first discovered at all that so petty a thing would vex me, 
is a question I never could solve ; but having discovered, he 
habitually practised the annoyance. I had always felt aversion to 
my uncourtly patronymic, and its very common, if, not plebeian 
praenomen. The words were venom in my ears ; and when, upon 
the day of my arrival, a second William Wilson came also to the 
academy, I felt angry with him for bearing the name, and doubly 
disgusted with the name because a stranger bore it, who would be 
the cause of its twofold repetition, who would be constantly in my 
presence, and whose concerns, in the ordinary routine of the school 



312 WURKS Of EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

business, must inevitably, on account of the detestable coincidence, 
be often confounded with my own. 

The feeling of vexation thus engendered grew stronger with 
every circumstance tending to show resemblance, moral or physical, 
between my rival and myself. I had not then discovered the 
remarkable fact that we were of the same age ; but I saw that we 
were of the same height, and I perceived that we were even singu 
larly alike in general contour of person and outline of feature. I 
was galled, too, by the rumour touching relationship, which had 
grown current in the upper forms. In a word, nothing could 
more seriously disturb me, (although 1 scrupulously concealed such 
disturbance), than any allusion to a similarity of mind, person, 
or condition existing between us. But, in truth, I had no reason 
to believe that (with the exception of the matter of relationship, 
and in the case of Wilson himself,) this similarity had ever been 
made a subject of comment, or even observed at all by our school 
fellows. That he observed it in all its bearings, and as fixedly as 
I, was apparent ; but that he could discover in such circumstances 
so fruitful a field of annoyance, can only be attributed, as I said 
before, to his more than ordinary penetration. 

His cue, which was to perfect an imitation of myself, lay both 
in words and in actions ; and most admirably did he play his 
part. My dress it was an easy matter to copy ; my gait and 
general manner were, without difficulty, appropriated ; in spite of 
his constitutional defect, even my voice did not escape him. My 
louder tones were, of course, unattempted, but then the key, it was 
identical; and his singular whisper, it grew the very echo of my own. 

How greatly this most exquisite portraiture harassed me, (for it 
could not justly be termed a caricature,) I will not now venture to 
describe. I had but one consolation in the fact that the imita 
tion, apparently, was noticed by myself alone, and that I had to 
endure only the knowing and strangely sarcastic smiles of my 
namesake himself. Satisfied with having produced in my bosom 
the intended effect, he seemed to chuckle in secret over the sting 
he had inflicted, and was characteristically disregarded of the 
public applause which the success of his witty endeavours might 
have so easily elicited. That the school, indeed, did not feel his 
design, perceive its accomplishment, and participate in his sneer, 
was, for many anxious months, a riddle I could not resolve. Perhaps 
the gradation of his copy rendered it not so readily perceptible ; or, 



WILLIAM WILSON. 313 

more possibly, I owed my security to the masterly air of the copy 
ist, who, disdaining the letter, (which in a painting is all the obtuse 
can see,) gave but the full spirit of his original for my individual 
contemplation and chagrin. 

I have already more than once spoken of the disgusting air of 
patronage which he assumed toward me, and of his frequent offici 
ous interference with my will. This interference often took the 
ungracious character of advice advice not openly given, but hinted 
or insinuated. I received it with a repugnance which gained 
strength as I grew in years. Yet, at this distant day, let me do 
him the simple justice to acknowledge that I can recall no occasion 
when the suggestions of my rival were on the side of those errors 
or follies so usual to his immature age and seeming inexperience ; 
that his moral sense, at least, if not his general talents and worldly 
wisdom, was far keener than my own ; and that I might, to-day, 
have been a better, and thus a happier man, had I less frequently 
rejected the counsels embodied in those meaning whispers which I 
then but too cordially hated and too bitterly despised. 

As it was, I at length grew restive in the extreme under his dis 
tasteful supervision, and daily resented more and more openly what 
I considered his intolerable arrogance. I have said that, in the 
first years of our connection as schoolmates, my feelings in regard 
to him might have been easily ripened into friendship ; but, in the 
latter months of my residence at the academy, although the intru 
sion of his ordinary manner had, beyond doubt, in some measure, 
abated, my sentiments, in nearly similar proportion, partook very 
much of positive hatred. Upon one occasion he saw this, I think, 
and afterwards avoided, or made a show of avoiding me. 

It was about the same period, if I remember aright, that, in an 
altercation of violence with him, in which he was more than usu 
ally thrown off his guard, and spoke and acted with an openness of 
demeanour rather foreign to his nature, I discovered, or fancied 
I discovered, in his accent, his air, and general appearance, a 
something which first startled, and then deeply interested me, by 
bringing to mind dim visions of my earliest infancy wild, con 
fused and thronging memories of a time when memory herself was 
yet unborn. I cannot better describe the sensation which oppressed 
me, than by saying that I could with difficulty shake off the belief 
of my having been acquainted with the being who stood before me, 
at some epoch very long ago some point of the past even infinitely 



314 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

remote. The delusion, however, faded rapidly as it came ; and I 
mention it at all but to define the day of the last conversation I 
there held with my singular namesake. 

The huge old house, with its countless subdivisions, had several 
large chambers communicating with each other, where slept the 
greater number of the students. There were, however, (as must 
necessarily happen in a building so awkwardly planned,) many 
little nooks or recesses, the odds and ends of the structure ; and 
these the economic ingenuity of Dr. Bransby had also fitted up as 
dormitories ; although, being the merest closets, they were capable 
of accommodating but a single individual. One of these small 
apartments was occupied by Wilson. 

One night, about the close of my fifth year at the school, and im 
mediately after the altercation just mentioned, finding every one 
wrapped in sleep, I arose from bed, and, lamp in hand, stole through 
a wilderness of narrow passages from my own bedroom to that of 
my rival. I had long been plotting one of those ill-natured pieces 
of practical wit at his expense in which I had hitherto been so uni 
formly unsuccessful. It was my intention, now, to put my scheme 
in operation, and I resolved to make him feel the whole extent of 
the malice with which I was imbued. Having reached his closet, 
I noiselessly entered, leaving the lamp, with a shade over it, on the 
outside. I advanced a step, and listened to the sound of his tran 
quil breathing. Assured of his being asleep, I returned, took the 
light, and with it again approached the bed. Close curtains were 
around it, which, in the prosecution of my plan, I slowly and 
quietly withdrew, when the bright rays fell vividly upon the sleeper, 
and my eyes, at the same moment, upon his countenance. I looked ; 
and a numbness, an iciness of feeling instantly pervaded my frame. 
My breast heaved, my knees tottered, my whole spirit became pos 
sessed with an objectless yet intolerable horror. Gasping for breath, 
I lowered the lamp in still nearer proximity to the face. Were 
these these the lineaments of William Wilson? I saw, indeed, 
that they were his, but I shook as if with a fit of the ague, in fancying 
they were not. What ivas there about them to confound me in this 
manner 1 I gazed ; while my brain reeled with a multitude of 
incoherent thoughts. Not thus he appeared assuredly not thus 
in the vivacity of his waking hours. The same name ! the same 
contour of person ! the same day of arrival at the academy ! And 
they Ms clogged and meaningless imitation of my gait, my voice, 



WILLIAM WILSON. 315 

my habits, and my manner ! Was it, in truth, within the bounds 
of human possibility, that ivhat I noiv saiv was the result, merely, 
of the habitual practice of this sarcastic imitation 1 Awe stricken, 
and with a creeping shudder, I extinguished the lamp, passed 
silently from the chamber, and left, at once, the halls of that old 
academy, never to enter them again. 

After a lapse of some months, spent at home in mere idleness, I 
found myself a student at Eton. The brief interval had been suf 
ficient to enfeeble my remembrance of the events at Dr. Bransby s, 
or at least to effect a material change in the nature of the feelings 
with which I remembered them. The truth the tragedy of the 
drama was no more. I could now find room to doubt the evidence 
of my senses, and seldom called up the subject at all but with 
wonder at the extent of human credulity, and a smile at the vivid 
force of the imagination which I hereditarily possessed. Neither 
was this species of scepticism likely to be diminished by the charac 
ter of the life I led at Eton. The vortex of thoughtless folly into 
which I there so immediately and so recklessly plunged, washed 
away all but the froth of my past hours, ingulfed at once every 
solid or serious impression, and left to memory only the veriest 
levities of a former existence. 

I do not wish, however, to trace the course of my miserable profli 
gacy here a profligacy which set at defiance the laws, while it 
eluded the vigilance of the institution. Three years of folly, passed 
without profit, had but given me rooted habits of vice, and added, 
in a somewhat unusual degree, to my bodily stature, when, after a 
week of soulless dissipation, I invited a small party of the most 
dissolute students to a secret carousal in my chambers. We met at 
a late hour of the night; for our debaucheries were to be faithfully 
protracted until morning. The wine flowed freely, and there were 
not wanting other and perhaps more dangerous seductions ; so that 
the gray dawn had already faintly appeared in the east, while our 
delirious extravagance was at its height . Madly flushed with cards 
and intoxication, I was in the act of insisting upon a toast of more 
than wonted profanity, when my attention was suddenly diverted 
by the violent, although partial unclosing of the door of the apart 
ment, and by the eager voice of a servant from without. He said 
that some person, apparently in great haste, demanded to speak 
with me in the hall. 

Wildly excited with wine, the unexpected interruption rather 



3 i6 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

delighted than surprised me. I staggered forward at once, and a 
few steps brought me to the vestibule of the building. In this low 
and small room there hung no lamp ; and now no light at all was 
admitted, save that of the exceedingly feeble dawn which made its 
way through the semi-circular window. As I put my foot over the 
threshold, I became aware of the figure of a youth about my own 
height, and habited in a white kerseymere morning frock, cut in 
the novel fashion of the one I myself wore at the moment. This 
the faint light enabled me to perceive ; but the features of his face 
I could not distinguish. Upon my entering, he strode hurriedly up 
to me, and, seizing me by the arm with a gesture of petulant im 
patience, whispered the words " William Wilson !" in my ear. 

I grew perfectly sober in an instant. 

There was that in the manner of the stranger, and in the tremu 
lous shake of his uplifted finger, as he held it between my eyes and 
the light, which filled me with unqualified amazement ; but it was 
not this which had so violently moved me. It was the pregnancy 
of solemn admonition in the singular, low, hissing utterance ; and, 
above all, it was the character, the tone, the key, of those few, 
simple, and familiar, yet whispered syllables, which came with a 
thousand thronging memories of bygone days, and struck upon my 
soul with the shock of a galvanic battery. Ere I could recover the 
use of my senses he was gone. 

Although this event failed not of a vivid effect upon my disor 
dered imagination, yet was it evanescent as vivid. For some weeks, 
indeed, I busied myself in earnest enquiry, or was wrapped in a 
cloud of morbid speculation. I did not pretend to disguise from my 
perception the identity of the singular individual who thus perse- 
veringly interfered with my affairs, and harassed me with his 
insinuated counsel. But who and what was this Wilson? and 
whence came he 1 and what were his purposes ? Upon neither of 
these points could I be satisfied merely ascertaining, in regard to 
him, that a sudden accident in his family had caused his removal 
from Dr. Bransby s academy on the afternoon of the day in which 
I myself had eloped. But in a brief period I ceased to think upon 
the subject, my attention being all absorbed in a contemplated de 
parture for Oxford. Thither I soon went, the uncalculating vanity 
of my parents furnishing me with an outfit and annual establish 
ment, which would enable me to indulge at will in the luxury 
already so dear to my heart to vie in profuseness of expenditure 



WILLIAM WILSON. 317 

with the haughtiest heirs of the wealthiest earldoms in Great 
Britain. 

Excited by such appliances to vice, my constitutional tempera 
ment broke forth with redoubled ardour, and I spurned even the 
common restraints of decency in the mad infatuation of my revels. 
But it were absurd to pause in the detail of my extravagance. Let 
it suffice, that among spendthrifts I out-Heroded Herod, and that, 
giving name to a multitude of novel follies, I added no brief appen 
dix to the long catalogue of vices then usual in the most dissolute 
university of Europe. 

It could hardly be credited, however, that I had, even here, so 
utterly fallen from the gentlemanly estate, as to seek acquaintance 
with the vilest arts of the gambler by profession, and, having 
become an adept in his despicable science, to practise it habitually 
as a means of increasing my already enormous income at the ex 
pense of the weak-minded among my fellow-collegians. Such, 
nevertheless, was the fact. And the very enormity of this offence 
against all manly and honourable sentiment proved, beyond doubt, 
the main, if not the sole reason, of the impunity with which it was 
committed. Who, indeed, among my most abandoned associates, 
would not rather have disputed the clearest evidence of his senses, 
than have suspected of such courses, the gay, the frank, the generous 
William Wilson the noblest and most liberal commoner at Ox 
ford him whose follies (said his parasites) were but the follies of 
youth and unbridled fancy whose errors but inimitable whim 
whose darkest vice but a careless and clashing extravagance 1 

I had been now two years successfully busied in this way, when 
there came to the university a young parvenu nobleman, Glendin- 
ning rich, said report, as Herodes Atticus his riches, too, as 
easily acquired. I soon found him of weak intellect, and, of course, 
marked him as a fitting subject for my skill. I frequently engaged 
him in play, and contrived, with the gambler s usual art, to let him 
win considerable sums, the more effectually to entangle him in my 
snares. At length, my schemes being ripe, I met him (with the 
full intention that this meeting should be final and decisive) at the 
chambers of a fellow-commoner, (Mr. Preston,) equally intimate 
with both, but who, to do him justice, entertained not even a re 
mote suspicion of my design. To give to this a better colouring, I 
had contrived to have assembled a party of some eight or ten, and 
was solicitously careful that the introduction of cards should appear 



318 WORKS OF* EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

accidental, and originate in the proposal of my contemplated dupe 
himself. To be brief upon a vile topic, none of the low finesse was 
omitted, so customary upon similar occasions, that it is a just 
matter for wonder how any are still found so besotted as to fall its 
victim. 

We had protracted our sitting far into the night, and I had at 
length effected -the manoeuvre of getting Glendinning as my sole 
antagonist. The game, too, was my favourite tcarte. The rest of 
the company, interested in the extent of our play, had abandoned 
their own cards, and were standing around us as spectators. The 
parvenu, who had been induced by my artifices in the early part of 
the evening, to drink deeply, now shuffled, dealt, or played, with a 
wild nervousness of manner for which his intoxication, I thought, 
might partially, but could not altogether account. In a very short 
period he had become my debtor to a large amount, when, having 
taken a long draught of port, he did precisely what I had been 
coolly anticipating he proposed to double our already extravagant 
stakes. With a well-feigned show of reluctance, and not until after 
my repeated refusal had seduced him into some angry words which 
gave a colour of pique to my compliance, did I finally comply. The 
result, of course, did but prove how entirely the prey was in my 
toils : in less than an hour he had quadrupled his debt. For some 
time his countenance had been losing the florid tinge lent it by the 
wine ; but now, to my astonishment, I perceived that it had grown 
to a pallor truly fearful. I say, to my astonishment. Glendinning 
had been represented to my eager inquiries as immeasurably 
wealthy ; and the sums which he had as yet lost, although in them 
selves vast, could not, I supposed, very seriously annoy, much less 
so violently affect him. That he was overcome by the wine just 
swallowed, was the idea which most readily presented itself ; and, 
rather with a view to the preservation of my own character in the 
eyes of my associates, than from any less interested motive, I was 
about to insist, peremptorily, upon a discontinuance of the play, 
when some expressions at my elbow from among the company, and 
an ejaculation evincing utter despair on the part of Glendinning, 
gave me to understand that I had effected his total ruin under cir 
cumstances which, rendering him an object for the pity of all, 
should have protected him from the ill offices even of a fiend. 

What now might have been my conduct it is difficult to say. The 
pitiable condition of my dupe had thrown an air of embarrassed 



WILLIAM WILSON 1 . 31$ 

gloom over all ; and, for some moments, a profound silence was 
maintained, during which I could not help feeling my cheeks tingle 
with the many burning glances of scorn or reproach cast upon me 
by the less abandoned of the party. I will even own that an in 
tolerable weight of anxiety was for a brief instant lifted from my 
bosom by the sudden and extraordinary interruption which ensued. 
The wide, heavy folding doors of the apartment were all at once 
thrown open, to their full extent, with a vigorous and rushing im 
petuosity that extinguished, as if by magic, every candle in the 
room. Their light, in dying, enabled us just to perceive that a 
stranger had entered, about my own height, and closely muffled in 
a cloak. The darkness, however, was now total ; and we could only 
feel that he was standing in our midst. Before any one of us could 
recover from the extreme astonishment into which this rudeness 
had thrown all, we heard the voice of the intruder. 

" Gentlemen," he said, in a low, distinct, and never-to-be-forgot 
ten whisper which thrilled to the very marrow of my bones, "Gen 
tlemen, I make no apology for this behaviour, because in thus 
behaving, I am but fulfilling a duty. You are, beyond doubt, 
uninformed of the true character of the person who has to-night 
won at ecarte a large sum of money from Lord Glen dinning. I 
will therefore put you upon an expeditious and decisive plan of 
obtaining this very necessary information. Please to examine, at 
your leisure, the inner linings of the cuff of his left sleeve, and the 
several little packages which may be found in the somewhat capa 
cious pockets of his embroidered morning wrapper." 

While he spoke, so profound was the stillness that one might 
have heard a pin drop upon the floor. In ceasing, he departed at 
once, and as abruptly as he had entered. Can I shall I describe 
my sensations 1 Must I say that I felt all the horrors of the damned 1 
Most assuredly I had little time for reflection. Many hands roughly 
seized me upon the spot, and lights were immediately re-procured. 
A search ensued. In the lining of my sleeve were found all the 
court cards essential in ecarte, and, in the pockets of my wrapper, 
a number of packs, fac-similes of those used at our sittings, with 
the single exception that mine were of the species called, techni 
cally, arrondees; the honours being slightly convex at the ends, the 
lower cards slightly convex at the sides. In this disposition, the 
dupe who cuts, as customary, at the length of the pack, will inva 
riably find that he cuts his antagonist an honour ; wliile the gambler, 



320 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

cutting at the breadth will, as certainly, cut nothing i or his victim 
which may count in the records of the game. 

Any burst of indignation upon this discovery would have affected 
me less than the silent contempt, or the sarcastic composure, with 
which it was received. 

" Mr. Wilson," said our host, stooping to remove from beneath 
his feet an exceedingly luxurious cloak of rare furs, " Mr. Wilson, 
this is your property." (The weather was cold ; and, upon quit 
ting my own room, I had thrown a cloak over my dressing wrapper, 
putting it off on reaching the scene of play.) " I presume it is 
supererogatory to seek here (eyeing the folds of the garment with 
a bitter smile) for any further evidence of your skill. Indeed, we 
have had enough. You will see the necessity, I hope, of quitting 
Oxford at all events, of quitting instantly my chambers." 

Abased, humbled to the dust as I then was, it is probable that 
I should have resented this galling language by immediate per 
sonal violence, had not my whole attention been at the moment 
arrested by a fact of the most startling character. The cloak which 
I had worn was of a rare description of fur ; how rare, how ex 
travagantly costly, I shall not venture to say. Its fashion, too, 
was of my own fantastic invention ; for I was fastidious to an 
absurd degree of coxcombry, in matters of this frivolous nature. 
When, therefore, Mr. Preston reached me that which he had picked 
up upon the floor, and near the folding- doors of the apartment, it 
was with an astonishment nearly bordering upon terror, that I 
perceived my own already hanging on my arm, (where I had no 
doubt unwittingly placed it,) and that the one presented me was 
but its exact counterpart in every, in even the minutest possible 
particular. The singular being who had so disastrously exposed 
me, had been muffled, I remembered, in a cloak ; and none had 
been worn at all by any of the members of our party, with the 
exception of myself. Retaining some presence of mind, I took the 
one offered me by Preston ; placed it, unnoticed, over my own ; 
left the apartment with a resolute scowl of defiance ; and, next 
morning ere dawn of day, commenced a hurried journey from Ox 
ford to the continent, in a perfect agony of horror and of shame. 

I fled in vain. My evil destiny pursued me as if in exultation, 
and proved, indeed, that the exercise of its mysterious dominion 
had as yet only begun. Scarcely had I set foot in Paris, ere I had 
fresh evidence of the detestable interest taken by this Wilson in 



WILLIAM WILSON. 32! 

my concerns. Years flew, while I experienced no relief. Villain ! 
at Rome, with how untimely, yet with how spectral an officious- 
ness, stepped he in between me and my ambition ! At Vienna, too 
at Berlin and at Moscow ! Where in truth, had I not bitter 
cause to curse him within my heart? From his inscrutable 
tyranny did I at length flee, panic-stricken, as from a pestilence ; 
and to the very ends of the earth 1 fled in vain. 

And again, and again, in secret communion with my own spirit, 
would I demand the questions, " Who is he 1 whence came he ? 
and what are his objects 1" But no answer was there found. 
And now I scrutinized, with a minute scrutiny, the forms, and the 
methods, and the leading traits of his impertinent supervision. 
But even here there was very little upon which to base a con 
jecture. It was noticeable, indeed, that in no one of the multiplied 
instances in which he had of late crossed my path, had he so 
crossed it except to frustrate those schemes, or to disturb those 
actions, which, if fully carried out, might have resulted in bitter 
mischief. Poor justification this, in truth, for an authority so im 
periously assumed ! Poor indemnity for natural rights of self- 
agency so pertinaciously, so insultingly denied ! 

I had also been forced to notice that my tormentor, for a very 
long period of time, (while scrupulously and with miraculous dex 
terity maintaining his whim of an identity of apparel with myself,) 
had so contrived it, in the execution of his varied interference with 
my will, that I saw not, at any moment, the features of his face. 
Be Wilson what he might, this, at least, was but the veriest of 
affectation, or of folly. Could he, for an instant, have supposed that, 
in my admonisher at Eton in the destroyer of my honour at Ox 
ford, in him who thwarted my ambition at Rome, my revenge at 
Paris, my passionate love at Naples, or what he falsely termed my 
avarice in Egypt, that in this, my arch-enemy and evil genius, I 
could fail to recognise the William Wilson of my school-boy days, 
the namesake, the companion, the rival, the hated and dreaded 
rival at Dr. Bransby s 1 Impossible ! But let me hasten to the 
last eventful scene of the drama. 

Thus far I had succumbed supinely to this imperious domina 
tion, The sentiment of deep awe with which I habitually regarded 
the elevated character, the majestic wisdom, the apparent omni 
presence and omnipotence of Wilson, added to a feeling of even 
terror, with which certain other traits in his nature and assump- 

21 



322 WORK S OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

tions inspired me, had operated, hitherto, to impress me with ail 
idea of my own utter weakness and helplessness, and to suggest an 
implicit, although bitterly reluctant submission to his arbitrary 
will. But, of late days, I had given myself up entirely to wine ; 
and its maddening influence upon my hereditary temper rendered 
me more and more impatient of control. I began to murmur, to 
hesitate, to resist. And was it only fancy which induced me to 
belie ^e that, with the increase of my own firmness, that of my tor 
mentor underwent a proportional diminution 1 Be this as it may, 
I now began to feel the inspiration of a burning hope, and at 
length nurtured in my secret thoughts a stern and desperate reso 
lution that I would submit no longer to be enslaved. 

It was at Rome, during the Carnival of 18 , that I attended 
a masquerade in the palazzo of the Neapolitan Duke Di Broglio. 
I liad indulged more freely than usual in the excesses of the wine- 
table ; and now the suffocating atmosphere of the crowded rooms 
irritated me beyond endurance. The difficulty, too. of forcing my 
way through the mazes of the company contributed not a little to 
the ruffling of my temper ; for I was anxiously seeking (let me not 
say with what unworthy motive) the young, the gay, the beautiful 
wife of the aged and doting Di Broglio. With a too unscrupulous 
confidence she had previously communicated to me the secret of 
the costume in which she would be habited, and now, having caught 
a glimpse of her person, I was hurrying to make my way into her 
presence. At this moment I felt a light hand placed upon my 
shoulder, and that ever-remembered, low, damnable whisper within 
my ear. 

In an absolute frenzy of wrath, I turned at once upon him who 
had thus interrupted me, and seized him violently by the collar. 
He was attired, as I had expected, in a costume altogether similar 
to my own ; wearing a Spanish cloak of blue velvet, begirt about 
the waist with a crimson belt sustaining a rapier. A mask of black 
silk entirely covered his face. 

" Scoundrel !" I said, in a voice husky with rage, while every 
syllable I uttered seemed as new fuel to my fury ; " scoundrel ! 
impostor ! accursed villain ! you shall not you shall not dog me 
unto death ! Follow me, or I stab you where you stand !" and I 
broke my way from the ball-room into a small ante-chamber ad 
joining, dragging him unresistingly with me as I went. 

Upon entering, I thrust him furiously from me. He staggered 



WILLIAM WILSON. 323 

against the wall, while I closed the door with an oath, and com 
manded him to draw. He hesitated but for an instant ; then, with 
a slight sigh, drew in silence, and put himself upon his defence. 

The contest was brief indeed. I was frantic with every species 
of wild excitement, and felt within my single arm the energy and 
power of a multitude. In a few seconds I forced him by sheer 
strength against the wainscoting, and thus, getting him at mercy, 
plunged my sword, with bruto ferocity, repeatedly through and 
through his bosom. 

At that instant some person tried the latch of the door. I 
hastened to prevent an intrusion, and then immediately returned to 
my dying antagonist. But what human language can adequately 
portray that astonishment, that horror which possessed me at the 
spectacle then presented to view 1 The brief moment in which I 
averted my eyes had been sufficient to produce, apparently, a 
material change in the arrangements at the upper or farther end of 
the room. A large mirror, so at first it seemed to me in my 
confusion now stood where none had been perceptible before ; 
and, as I stepped up to it in extremity of terror, mine own image, 
but with features all pale and dabbled in blood, advanced to meet 
me with a feeble and tottering gait. 

Thus it appeared, I say, but was not. It was my antagonist 
it was Wilson, who then stood before me in the agonies of his dis 
solution. His mask and cloak lay, where he had thrown them, 
upon the floor. Not a thread in all his raiment not a line in all 
the marked and singular lineaments of his face which was not, 
even in the most absolute identity, mine own f 

It was Wilson ; but he spoke no longer in a whisper, and I could 
have fancied that I myself was speaking while he said : 

" You have conquered, and I yield. Yet, henceforiuard art 
thou also dead dead to the World, to Heaven and to Hope I In 
me didst, thou exist and, in my death, see by this image, ivhich is 
thine own, how utterly thou hast murdered thysel/C 



212 



324 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 



BERENICE, 

" Dicelbant milii sodales, si sepulchrum arnicas visitarem, curas meas 
aliquantulum fore^evatas." Ebn Zaiat. 

: ISERY is manifold. The wretchedness of earth is multi 
form. Overreaching the wide horizon as the rainbow, its 
hues are as various as the hues of that arch as distinct 
too, yet as intimately blended. Over-reaching the wide horizon as 
the rainbow ! How is it that from beauty I have derived a type of 
\mloveliness? from the covenant of peace, a simile of sorrow 1 ? 
But as, in ethics, evil is a consequence of good, so, in fact, out of 
joy is sorrow born. Either the memory of past bliss is the anguish 
of to-day, or the agonies which are, have their origin in the ecstasies 
which might have been. 

My baptismal name is Egseus ; that of my family I will not 
mention. Yet there are no towers in the land more tune-honoured 
than my gloomy, gray, hereditary halls. Our line has been called 
a race of visionaries ; and in many striking particulars in the 
character of the family mansion in the frescoes of the chief saloon 
in the tapestries of the dormitories in the chiselling of some but 
tresses in the armoury but more especially in the gallery of antique 
paintings in the fashion of the library chamber and, lastly, in 
the very peculiar nature of the library s contents there is more 
than sufficient evidence to warrant the belief. 

The recollection of my earliest years are connected with that 
chamber, and with its volumes of which latter I will say no more. 
Here died my mother. Here was I born. But it is mere idleness 
to say that I had not lived before that the soul has no previous 
existence. You deny it ? let us not argue the matter. Convinced 
myself, I seek not to convince. There is, however, a remembrance 
of aerial forms of spiritual and meaning eyes of sounds, musical 
yet sad ; a remembrance which will not be excluded ; a memory 
like a shadow vague, variable, indefinite, unsteady; and like a 
shadow, too, in the impossibility of my getting rid of it while the 
sunlight of my reason shall exist. 

In that chamber was I born. Thus awaking from the long night 
of what seemed, but was not, nonentity, at once into the very 
regions of fairy land into a palace of imagination into the wild 



BERENICE. 325 

dominions of monastic thought and erudition it is not singular 
that I gazed around me with a startled and ardent eye that I 
loitered away my boyhood in books, and dissipated my youth in 
revery ; but it is singular, that as years rolled away, and the noon 
of manhood found me still in the mansion of my fathers it is 
wonderful that stagnation there fell upon the springs of my life 
wonderful how total an inversion took place in the character of my 
commonest thought. The realities of the world affected me as 
visions, and as visions only, while the wild ideas of the land of 
dreams became, in turn, not the material of my every-day existence, 
but in very deed that existence utterly and solely in itself. 

# * * * * -3C- * * 

Berenice and I were cousins, and we grew up together in my 
paternal halls. Yet differently we grew I, ill of health, and buried 
in gloom she, agile, graceful, and overflowing with energy ; hers, 
the ramble on the hill-side mine, the studies of the cloister ; I, 
living within my own heart, and addicted, body and soul, to the 
most intense and painful meditation she, roaming carelessly 
through life, with no thought of the shadows in her path, or the 
silent flight of the raven-winged hours. Berenice ! I call upon 
her name ! Berenice ! and from the gray ruins of memory a thou 
sand tumultuous recollections are startled at the sound ! Ah, 
vividly is her image before me now, as in the early days of her 
light-heartedness and joy ! Oh, gorgeous yet fantastic beauty ! Oh, 
sylph amid the shrubberies of Arnheim ! Oh, Naiad among its 
fountains ! And then then all is mystery and terror, and a tale 
which should not be told. Disease a fatal disease, fell like the 
simoom upon her frame ; and, even while I gazed upon her, the 
spirit of change swept over her, pervading her mind, her habits, and 
her character, and, in a manner the most subtle and terrible, dis 
turbing even the identity of her person ! Alas ! the destroyer came 
and went! and the victim where is she? I knew her not or 
knew her no longer as Berenice 1^^ 

Among the numerous train of maladies superinduced by that 
fatal and primary one which effected a revolution of so horrible a 
kind in the moral and physical being of my cousin, may be men 
tioned as the most distressing and obstinate in its nature, a species 
of epilepsy not unfrequently terminating in trance itself trance 
very nearly resembling positive dissolution, and from which her 
manner of recovery was, in most instances, startlingly abrupt. In 



3 25 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

the meantime, my own disease for I have been told that I should 
call it by no other appellation my own disease, then, grew rapidly 
upon me, and assumed finally a monomaniac character of a novel 
and extraordinary form hourly and momently gaining vigour 
and at length obtaining over me the most incomprehensible ascend 
ancy. This monomania, if I must so term it, consisted in a morbid 
irritability of those properties of the mind in metaphysical science 
termed the attentive. It is more than probable that I am not under 
stood ; but I fear, indeed, that it is in no manner possible to convey 
to the mind of the merely general reader, an adequate idea of that 
nervous intensity of interest with which, in my case, the powers of 
meditation (not to speak technically) busied and buried themselves, 
in the contemplation of even the most ordinary objects of the 
universe. 

To muse for long unwearied hours, with my attention riveted to 
some frivolous device on the margin or in the typography of a 
book ; to become absorbed, for the better part of a summer s day, 
in a quaint shadow falling aslant upon the tapestry or upon the 
floor ; to lose myself, for an entire night, in watching the steady 
flame of a lamp, or the embers of a fire ; to dream away whole days 
over the perfume of a flower ; to repeat, monotonously, some com 
mon word, until the sound, by dint of frequent repetition, ceased 
to convey any idea whatever to the mind ; to lose all sense of 
motion or physical existence, by means of absolute bodily qui 
escence long and obstinately persevered in : such were a few of the 
most common and least pernicious vagaries induced by a condition 
of the mental faculties, not, indeed, altogether unparalleled, but 
certainly bidding defiance to anything like analysis or explanation. 

Yet let me not be misapprehended. The undue, earnest, and 
morbid attention thus excited by objects in their own nature frivol 
ous, must not be confounded in character with that ruminating 
propensity common to all mankind, and more especially indulged 
in by persons of ardent imagination. It was not even, as might be 
at first supposed, an extreme condition, or exaggeration of such 
propensity, but primarily and essentially distinct and different. In 
the one instance, the dreamer, or enthusiast, being interested by an 
object usually not frivolous, imperceptibly loses sight of this object 
in a wilderness of deductions and suggestions issuing therefrom, 
until, at the conclusion of a day-dream often replete with luxury, 
he finds the incitamentiwi, or first cause of his musings, entirely 



BERENICE. 327 

vanished and forgotten. In my case, the primary object was inva 
riably frivolous, although assuming, through the medium of my 
distempered vision, a refracted and unreal importance. Few de 
ductions, if any, were made ; and those few pertinaciously returning 
in upon the original object as a centre. The meditations were 
never pleasurable ; and, at the termination of the revery, the first 
cause, so far from being out of sight, had attained that supernatu- 
rally exaggerated interest which was the prevailing feature of the 
disease. In a word, the powers of mind more particularly exercised 
were, with me, as I have said before, the attentive^ and are, with the 
day-dreamer, the speculative. 

My books, at this epoch, if they did not actually serve to irritate 
the disorder, partook, it will be perceived, largely, in their imagi 
native and inconsequential nature, of the characteristic qualities of 
the disorder itself. I well remember, among others, the treatise of 
the noble Italian, Ccelius Secundus Curio, J)e Amplitudine Beati 
liegni Dei ;" St. Austin s great work, " The City of God ;" and 
Tertullian s " De Game Christi? in which the paradoxical sentence, 
" Mortuus est Deifilius; credibile est quia ineptum est ; etsrpultus 
resurrexit ; cerium est quia impossibile est," occupied my undivided 
time, for many weeks of laborious and fruitless investigation. 

Thus it will appear that, shaken from its balance only by trivial 
things, my reason bore resemblance to that ocean-crag spoken of by 
Ptolemy Hephestion, which steadily resisting the attacks of human 
violence, and the fiercer fury of the waters and the winds, trembled 
only to the touch of the flower called Asphodel. And although, 
to a careless thinker, it might appear a matter beyond doubt, that 
the alteration produced by her unhappy malady, in the moral con 
dition of Berenice, would afford me many objects for the exercise 
of that intense and abnormal meditation whose nature I have been 
at some trouble in explaining, yet such was not in any degree the 
case. In the lucid intervals of my infirmity, her calamity, indeed, 
gave me pain, and, taking deeply to heart that total wreck of her 
fair and gentle life, I did not fail to ponder, frequently and bitterly, 
upon the wonder-working means by which so strange a revolution 
had been so suddenly brought to pass. But these reflections par 
took not of the idiosyncrasy of my disease, and were such as would 
have occurred, under similar circumstances, to the ordinary mass of 
mankind. True to its own character, my disorder revelled in the 
less important but more startling changes wrought_in the physical 



328 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

frame of Berenice in the singular and most appalling distortion of 
her personal identity. 

^I)uring the brightest days of her unparalleled beauty, most surely 
I had never loved her. In the strange anomaly of my existence, 
feelings with me had never been of the heart, and my passions 
always were of the mind. Through the gray of the early morning 
among the trellised shadows of the forest at noon-day and in 
the silence of my library at night she had flitted by my eyes, and 
I had seen her not as the living and breathing Berenice, but as 
the Berenice of a dream ; not as a being of the earth, earthy, but 
as the abstraction of such a being ; not as a thing to admire, but to 
analyze ; not as an object of love, but as the theme of the most 
abstruse although desultory speculation. And noiv now I shud 
dered in her presence, and grew pale at her approach ; yet, bitterly 
lamenting her fallen and desolate condition, I called to mind that 
she had loved me long, and, in an evil moment, I spoke to her of 
marriage. 

And at length the period of our nuptials was approaching, when, 
upon an afternoon in the winter of the year one of those unsea 
sonably warm, calm, and misty days which are the nurse of the 
beautiful Halcyon,* I sat, (and sat, as I thought, alone,) in the 
inner apartment of the library. But, uplifting my eyes, I saw that 
Berenice stood before me. 

Was it jny own excited imagination or the misty influence of 
the atmosphere or the uncertain twilight of the chamber or the 
gray draperies which fell around her figure that caused in it so 
vacillating and indistinct an outline 1 I could.not tell. She spoke 
no word ; and I not for worlds could I have uttered a syllable. 
An icy chill ran through my frame ; a sense of insufferable anxiety 
oppressed me ; a consuming curiosity pervaded my soul ; and 
sinking back upon the chair, I remained for some time breathless 
and motionless, with my eyes riveted upon her person. Alas ! its 
emaciation was excessive, and not one vestige of the former being 
lurked in any single line of the contour. My burning glances at 
length fell upon the face. 

The forehead was high, and very pale, and singularly placid; and 
the once jetty hair fell partially over it, and overshadowed the 

* "For as Jove, during the winter season, gives twice seven days of 
warmth, men have called this clement and temperate time the nurse 
of the beautiful Haley on, "Simonides, 



BERENICE. ^329 

hollow temples with innumerable ringlets, now of a vivid yellow, 
and jarring discordantly, in their fantastic character, with the 
reigning melancholy of the countenance. The eyes were lifeless, 
and lustreless, and seemingly pupilless, and I shrank involuntarily 
from their glassy stare to the contemplation of the thin and 
shrunken lips. They parted ; and in a smile of peculiar meaning, 
the teeth of the changed Berenice disclosed themselves slowly to 
my view. Would to God that I had never beheld them, or that, 
having done so, I had died ! 



The shutting of a door disturbed me, and looking up, I found 
that my cousin had departed from the chamber. But from the 
disordered chamber of my brain had not, alas ! departed, and 
would not be driven away, the white and ghastly spectrum of the 
teeth. Not a speck on their surface not a shade on their enamel 
not an indenture in their edges but what that brief period of 
her smile had sufficed to brand in upon my memory. I saw them 
noio even more unequivocally than I beheld them then. The teeth ! 
the teeth! they were here, and there, and everywhere, and 
visibly and palpably before me ; long, narrow, and excessively 
white, with the pale lips writhing about them, as in the very moment 
of their first terrible development. Then came the full fury of my 
monomania, and I struggled in vain against its strange and irre 
sistible influence. In the multiplied objects of the external world 
I had no thoughts but for the teeth. For these I longed with a 
frenzied desire. All other matters and all different interests became 
absorbed in their single contemplation. They they alone were 
present to the mental eye, and they, in their sole individuality, 
became the essence of my mental life. I held them in every light. 
I turned them in every attitude. I surveyed their characteristics. 
I dwelt upon their peculiarities. I pondered upon their conforma 
tion. I mused upon the alteration in their nature. I shuddered 
as I assigned to them, in imagination, a sensitive and sentient 
power, and, even when unassisted by the lips, a capability of moral 
expression. Of Mademoiselle Salle it has been well said, " Que 
tons ses pas etaient des sentiments? and of Berenice I more seriously 
believed que tons ses dents etaient des idees. Des idees ! ah, here 
was the idiotic thought that destroyed me ! Des idees /ah, 
therefore it was that I coveted them so madly ! I felt that their 



330 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN P0< 

possession could alone ever restore me to peace, in giving me back 
to reason. 

Arid the evening closed in upon me thus and then the dark 
ness came, and tarried, and went and the day again dawned and 
the mists of a second night were now gathering around and still 
I sat motionless in that solitary room and still I sat buried in 
meditation and still the phantasma of the teeth maintained its 
terrible ascendancy, as, with the most vivid and hideous distinct 
ness, it floated about amid the changing lights and shadows of the 
chamber. At length there broke in upon my dreams a cry as of 
horror and dismay; and thereunto, after a pause, succeeded the 
sound of troubled voices, intermingled with many low moanings 
of sorrow or pain. I arose from my seat, and throwing open one 
of the doors of the library, saw standing out in the ante-chamber 
a servant maiden, all in tears, who told me that Berenice was no 
more ! She had been seized with epilepsy in the early morning, 
and now, at the closing in of the night, the grave was ready for its 
tenant, and all the preparations for the burial were completed. 
***** ** 

I found myself sitting in the library, and again sitting there 
alone. It seemed that I had newly awakened from a confused and 
exciting dream. I knew that it was now midnight, and I was 
well aware that, since the setting of the sun, Berenice had been 
interred. But of that dreary period which intervened I had no 
positive, at least no definite comprehension. Yet its memory w r as 
replete with horror horror more horrible from being vague, and 
terror more terrible from ambiguity. It was a fearful page in the 
record of my existence, written all over with dim, and hideous, and 
unintelligible recollections. I strived to decipher them, but in 
vain ; while ever and anon, like the spirit of a departed sound, the 
shrill and piercing shriek of a female voice seemed to be ringing in 
my ears. I had done a deed what was it ? I asked myself the 
question aloud, and the whispering echoes of the chamber answered 
me," What was it ?" 

On the table beside me burned a lamp, and near it lay a lithe 
box. It was of no remarkable character, and I had seen it fre 
quently before, for it was the property of the family physician ; but 
how came it there, upon my table, and why did I shudder in 
regarding it 1 These things were in no manner to be accounted for, 
and my eyes at length dropped to the open pages of a book, and 



BERENICE. 331 

to a sentence underscored therein. The words were the singular 
but simple ones of the poet Ebn Zaiat : Dicebant mihi sodales 
si sepulchrum amicce visitarem, cur as meas aliquantulum fore 
levatas" Why, then, as I perused them, did the hairs of my head 
erect themselves on end, and the blood of my body become con 
gealed within my veins ? 

There came a light tap at the library door and, pale as the 
tenant of a tomb, a menial entered upon tiptoe. His looks were 
wild with terror, and he spoke to me in a voice tremulous, husky, 
and very low. What said he ? some broken sentences I heard. 
He told of a wild cry disturbing the silence of the night of the 
gathering together of the household of a search in the direction 
of the sound ; and then his tones grew thrillingly distinct as he 
whispered me of a violated grave of a disfigured body enshrouded, 
yet still breathing still palpitating still alive ! 

He pointed to my garments ; they were muddy and clotted with 
gore. I spoke not, and he took me gently by the hand : it was in 
dented with the impress of human nails. He directed my attention 
to some object against the wall. I looked at it for some minutes : 
it was a spade. With a shriek I bounded to the table, and grasped 
the box that lay upon it. But I could not force it open ; and, in 
my tremor, it slipped from my hands, and fell heavily, and burst 
into pieces ; and from it, with a rattling sound, there rolled out 
some instruments of dental surgery, intermingled with thirty-two 
small, white, and ivory-looking substances that were scattered to 
and fro about the floor. 



ELEONORA, 

" Sub conservatione formse specificse salva anima." 

Raymond Lully. 

AM come of a race noted for vigour of fancy and ardour of 
passion. Men have called me mad ; but the question is 
not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest 
intelligence whether much that is glorious whether all that is 
profound does not spring from disease of thought from mooch of 
mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect. They who 
dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those 



332 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

who dream only by night. In their grey visions they obtain 
glimpses of eternity, and thrill, in waking, to find that they have 
been upon the verge of the great secret. In snatches, they learn 
something of the wisdom which is of good, and more of the mere 
knowledge which is of evil. They penetrate, however rudderless 
or compassless, into the vast ocean of the " light ineffable ;" and 
again, like the adventures of the Nubian geographer, " agressi sunt 
mare tenebrarwn, quid in eo esset easploraturi." 

We will say, then, that I am mad. I grant, at least, that there 
are two distinct conditions of my mental existence the condition 
of a lucid reason, not to be disputed, and belonging to the memory 
of events forming the first epoch of my life and a condition of 
shadow and doubt, appertaining to the present, and to the recol 
lection of what constitutes the second great era of my being. 
Therefore, what I shall tell of the earlier period, believe ; and to 
what I may relate of the later time, give only such credit as may 
seem due ; or doubt it altogether ; or, if doubt it ye cannot, then 
play unto its riddle the (Edipus. 

She whom I loved in youth, and of whom I now pen calmly and 
distinctly these remembrances, was. the sole daughter of the only 
sjster of my mother long departed. Eleonora was the name of my 
cousin. We had always dwelt together, beneath a tropical sun, 
in the Valley of the Many-Coloured Grass. No unguided footstep 
ever came upon that vale, for it lay far away up among a range of 
giant hills that hung beetling around about it, shutting out the sun 
light from its sweetest recesses. No path was trodden in its vicinity ; 
and, to reach our happy home, there was need of putting back, with 
force, the foliage of many thousands of forest trees, and of crushing 
to death the glories of many millions of fragrant flowers. Thus it 
was that we lived all alone, knowing nothing of the world without 
the valley, I, and my cousin, and her mother. 

From the dim regions beyond the mountains at the upper end of 
our encircled domain, there crept out a narrow and deep river, 
brighter than all save the eyes of Eleonora ; and, winding stealthily 
about in mazy courses, it passed away, at length, through a shadowy 
gorge, among hills still dimmer than those whence it had issued. 
We called it the " River of Silence ;" for there seemed to be a 
hushing influence in its flow. No murmur arose from its bed, and 
so gently it wandered along, that the pearly pebbles upon which 
we loved to gaze, far down within its bosom, stirred not at all, but 



ELEONORA. 333 

lay in a motionless content, each in its own old station, shining on 
gloriously for ever. 

The margin of the river, and of the many dazzling rivulets that 
glided through devious ways into its channel, as well as the spaces 
that extended from the margins away down into the depths of the 
streams until they reached the bed of pebbles at the bottom, these 
spots, not less than the whole surface of the valley, from the river 
to the mountains that girdled it in, were carpeted all by a soft green 
grass, thick, short, perfectly even, and vanilla-perfumed, but so be 
sprinkled throughout with the yellow buttercup, the white daisy, 
the purple violet, and the ruby-red asphodel, that its exceeding- 
beauty spoke to our hearts in loud tones of the love and of the 
glory of God. 

And, here and there, in groves about this grass, like wildernesses 
of dreams, sprang up fantastic trees, whose tall slender stems stood 
not upright, but slanted gracefully towards the light that peered at 
noon-day into the centre of the valley. Their bark was speckled 
with the vivid alternate splendour of ebony and silver, and was 
smoother than all save the cheeks of Eleonora ; so that but for the 
brilliant green of the huge leaves that spread from their summits 
in long, tremulous lines, dallying with the zephyrs, one might have 
fancied them giant serpents of Syria doing homage to their sovereign 
the Sun. 

Hand in hand about this valley, for fifteen years, roamed I with 
Eleonora before love entered within our hearts. It was one even 
ing at the close of the third lustrum of her life, and of the fourth 
of my own, that we sat, locked in each other s embrace, benea.h 
the serpent-like trees, and looked down within the waters of the 
River of Silence at our images therein. We spoke no words 
during the rest of that sweet day ; and our words even upon 
the morrow were tremulous and few. We had drawn the god 
Eros from that wave, and now we felt that he had enkindled within 
us the fiery souls of our forefathers. The passions which had for 
centuries distinguished our race, came thronging with the fancies 
for which they had been equally noted, and together breathed a 
delirious bliss over the Valley of the Many-Coloured Grass. A 
change fell upon all things. Strange, brilliant flowers, star-shaped, 
burst out upon the trees where no flowers had been known before. 
The tints of the green carpet deepened ; and when, one by one, the 
white daisies shrank away, there sprang up in place of them ten 



334 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

by ten of the ruby-red asphodel. And life arose in our paths ; 
for the tall flamingo, hitherto unseen, with all gay glowing birds, 
flaunted his scarlet plumage before us. The golden and silver fish 
haunted the river, out of the bosom of which issued, little by little, 
a murmur that swelled, at length, into a lulling melody more divine 
than that of the harp of ^Eolus sweeter than all save the voice of 
Eleonora. And now, too, a voluminous cloud, which we had long 
watched in the regions of Hesper, floated out thence, all gorgeous 
in crimson and gold, and settling in peace above us, sank day by 
day, lower and lower, until its edges rested upon the tops of the 
mountains, turning all their dimness into magnificence, and shut 
ting us up, as if for ever, within a magic prison-house of grandeur 
and of glory. 

The loveliness of Eleonora was that of the Seraphim ; but she 
was a maiden artless and innocent as the brief life she had led 
among the flowers. No guile disguised the fervour of love which 
animated her heart, and she examined with me its inmost recesses 
as we walked together in the Valley of the Many-Coloured Grass, 
and discoursed of the mighty changes which had lately taken place 
therein. 

At length, having spoken one day, in tears, of the last sad change 
which must befall Humanity, she thenceforward dwelt only upon 
this one sorrowful theme, interweaving it into all our converse, as, 
in the songs of the bard of Shiraz, the same images are found oc 
curring again and again, in every impressive variation of phrase. 

She had seen that the finger of Death was upon her bosom that, 
like the ephemeron, she had been made perfect in loveliness only 
to die ; but the terrors of the grave to her, lay solely in a considera 
tion which she revealed to me, one evening at twilight, by the 
banks of the River of Silence. She grieved to think that, having 
entombed her in the Valley of the Many-Coloured Grass, I would 
quit for ever its happy recesses, transferring the love which now 
was so passionately her own to some maiden of the outer and every 
day world. And, then and there, I threw myself hurriedly at the 
feet of Eleonora, and offered up a vow, to herself and to Heaven, 
that I would never bind myself in marriage to any daughter of 
Earth that I would in no manner prove recreant to her deai* 
memory, or to the memory of the devout affection with which she 
had blessed me. And I called the Mighty Ruler of the Universe 
to witness the pious solemnity of my vow. And the curse which I 



E LEO NOR A. 33$ 

invoked of Him and of her, a saint in Helusion, should I prove 
traitorous to that promise, involved a penalty the exceeding great 
horror of which will not permit me to make record of it here. And 
the bright eyes of Eleonora grew brighter at my words ; and she 
sighed as if a deadly burden had been taken from her breast ; and 
she trembled and very bitterly wept ; but she made acceptance of 
the vow, (for what was she but a child?) and it made easy to her 
the bed of her death. And she said to me, not many days after 
wards, tranquilly dying, that, because of what I had done for the 
comfort of her spirit, she would watch over me in that spirit when 
departed, and, if so it were permitted her, return to me visibly in 
the watches of the night ; but if this thing were, indeed, beyond 
the power of the souls in Paradise, that she would, at least, give me 
frequent indications of her presence ; sighing upon me in the even 
ing winds, or filling the air which I breathed with perfume from 
the censers of the angels. And, with these words upon her lips, 
she yielded up her innocent life, putting an end to the first epoch 
of my own. 

Thus far I have faithfully said. But as I pass the barrier in 
Time s path formed by the death of my beloved, and proceed with 
the second era of my existence, I feel that a shadow gathers over 
my brain, and I mistrust the perfect sanity of the record. But let 
me on. Years dragged themselves along heavily, and still I dwelt 
within the Valley of the Many-Coloured Grass ; but a second 
change had come upon all things. The star-shaped flowers shrank 
jito the stems of the trees, and appeared no more. The tints of 
the green carpet faded ; and, one by one, the ruby-red asphodels 
withered away ; and there sprang up, in place of them, ten by ten, 
dark, eye-like violets, that writhed uneasily and were ever encum 
bered with dew. And life departed from our paths; for the tall 
flamingo flaunted no longer his scarlet plumage before us, but flew 
sadly from the vale into the hills, with all the gay glowing birds 
that had arrived in his company. And the golden and silver fish 
swam down through the gorge at the lower end of our domain, and 
bedecked the sweet river never again. And the lulling melody that 
had been softer than the wind-harp of ^Eolus, and more divine than 
all save the voice of Eleonora, it died little by little away, in mur 
murs growing lower and lower, until the stream returned, at length, 
utterly into the solemnity of its original silence. And then, lastly, 
the voluminous cloud uprose, and, abandoning the tops of the 



V6 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

mountains to the dimness of old, fell back into the regions of 
Hesper, and took away all its manifold golden and gorgeous glories 
from the Valley of the Many-Coloured Grass. 

Yet the promises of Eleonora were not forgotten ; for I heard 
the sounds of the swinging of the censers of the angels ; and streams 
of a holy perfume floated ever and ever about the valley ; and at 
lone hours, when my heart beat heavily, the winds that bathed my 
brow came unto me laden with soft sighs ; and indistinct murmurs 
filled often the night air; and once oh, but once only ! I was 
awakened from a slumber like the slumber of death, by the pressing 
of spiritual lips upon my own. 

But the void within my heart refused, even thus, to be filled. I 
longed for the love which had before filled it to overflowing. At 
length the valley pained me through its memories of Eleonora, 
and I left it for ever for the vanities and the turbulent triumphs of 
the world. 

****** # * 

I found myself within a strange city, where all things might 
have served to blot from recollection the sweet dreams I had 
dreamed so long in the Valley of the Many-Coloured Grass. The 
pomps and pageantries of a stately court, and the mad clangour of 
arms, and the radiant loveliness of woman, bewildered and intoxi 
cated my brain. But as yet my soul had proved true to its vows, 
and the indications of the presence of Eleonora were still given 
me in the silent hours of the night. Suddenly, these manifesta 
tions ceased ; and the world grew dark before mine eyes ; and I 
stood aghast at the burning thoughts which possessed at the 
terrible temptations which beset me ; for there came from some 
far, far distant and unknown land, into the gay court of the king 
I served, a maiden to whose beauty my whole recreant heart 
yielded at once at whose footstool I bowed down without a 
struggle, in the most ardent, in the most abject worship of love. 
What indeed was my passion for the young girl of the valley in 
comparison with the fervour, and the delirium, and the spirit-lifting 
ecstasy of adoration with which I poured out my whole soul in 
tears at the feet of the ethereal Ermengarde ? Oh, bright was the 
seraph Ermengarde ! and in that knowledge I had room for none 
other. Oh, divine was the angel Ermengarde ! and as I looked 
down into the depths of her memorial eyes, I thought only of 
them and of her. 



ELEONORA. 337 

I wedded ; nor dreaded the curse I had invoked ; and its bitter 
ness was not visited upon me. And once but once again in the 
silence of the night, there came through my lattice the soft sighs 
which had forsaken me ; and they modelled themselves into 
familiar and sweet voice, saying 

"Sleep in peace ! for the Spirit of Love reigneth and ruleth, 
and, in taking to thy passionate heart her who is Ermengarde, 
thou art absolved, for reasons which shall be made known to thee 
in Heaven^ of thy vows unto Eleonora," 



LIGEIA, 

"And the will therein lieth, which dieth not. Who knoweth the 
mysteries of the will, with its vigour ? For God is but a great will per 
vading all things by nature of its intentness. Man doth not yield 
himself to the angels, nor unto death utterly, save only through the 
weakness of his feeble will." Joseph Glanvill. 

CANNOT, for my soul, remember how, when, or even pre 
cisely where, I first became acquainted with the lady 
Ligeia, Long years have since elapsed, and my memory 
is feeble through much suffering. Or, perhaps, I cannot now bring 
these points to mind, because, in truth, the character of my 
beloved, her rare learning, her singular yet placid caste of beauty, 
and the thrilling and enthralling eloquence of her low musical 
language, made their way into my heart by paces so steadily and 
stealthily progressive, that they have been unnoticed and unknown. 
Yet I believe that I met her first and most frequently in some 
large, old, decaying city near the Rhine. Of her family I have 
surely heard her speak. That it is of a remotely ancient date can 
not be doubted. Ligeia ! Ligeia ! Buried in studies of a nature 
more than all else adapted to deaden impressions of the outward 
world, it is by that sweet word alone by Ligeia that I bring 
before mine eyes in fancy the image of her who is no more. And 
now, while I write, a recollection flashes upon me that I have 
never knoivn the paternal name of her who was my friend and my 
betrothed, and who became the partner of my studies, and finally 
the wife of my bosom. Was it a playful charge on the part of my 
Ligeia 1 or was it a test of my strength of affection, that I should 
institute no inquiries upon this point? or was it rather a caprice 

22 



338 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

of my own a wildly romantic offering on the shrine of the most 
passionate devotion 1 I but indistinctly recall the fact itself 
what wonder that I have utterly forgotten the circumstances 
which originated or attended it ] And, indeed, if ever that spirit 
which is entitled Romance if ever she, the wan and the misty- 
winged Ashiophet of idolatrous Egypt, presided, as they tell, over 
marriages ill-omened, then most surely she presided over mine. 

Tiiore is one dear topic, however, on which my memory fails me 
not. It is the person of Ligeia. In stature she was tall, somewhat 
slender, and, in her latter days, even emaciated. I would in vain 
attempt to portray the majesty, the quiet ease, of her demeanour, 
or the incomprehensible lightness and elasticity of her footfall. 
She came and departed as a shadow. I was never made aware of 
her entrance into my closed study, save by the dear music of her 
low sweet voice, as she placed her marble hand upon my shoulder. 
In beauty of face no maiden ever equalled her. It was the 
radiance of an opium- dream an airy and spirit-lifting vision 
wil lly divine than the fantasies wMch hovered about the 
slumbering suuls of the daughters of Delos. Yet her features 
were not 01 that, regular mould which we have been falsely taught 
to worship in the classical labours of the heathen. " There is no 
exquisite beauty," says Bacon, Lord Verulam, speaking truly of 
all the forms and genera of beauty, " without some strangeness in 
the proportion." Yet, although I saw that the features of Ligeia 
were not of a classic regularity although I perceived that her 
loveliness was indeed " exquisite," and felt that there was much 
of " strangeness " pervading it, yet I have tried in vain to detect 
the irregularity and to trace home my own perception of " the 
strange." I examined the contour of the lofty and pale forehead 
it was faultless how cold indeed that word when applied to a 
majesty so divine ! the skin rivalling the purest ivory, the com 
manding extent and repose, the gentle prominence of the regions 
above the temples ; and then the raven-black, the glossy, the 
luxuriant and naturally-curling tresses, setting forth the full force 
of the Homeric epithet, " hyacinthine !" I looked at the delicate 
outlines of the nose and nowhere but in the graceful medallions 
of the Hebrews had I beheld a similar perfection. There were 
the same luxurious smoothness of surface, the same scarcely per 
ceptible tendency to the aquiline, the same harmoniously curved 
nostrils speaking the free spirit. I regarded the sweet mouth. 



LIGEIA, 339 

Here was indeed the triumph of all things heavenly the magnifi 
cent turn of the short upper lip the soft, voluptuous slumber of 
the under the dimples which sported, and the colour which spoke 
the teeth glancing back, with a brilliancy almost startling, every 
ray of the holy light which fell upon them in her serene and placid, 
yet most exultingly radiant of all smiles. I scrutinized the forma 
tion of the chin and here, too, I found the gentleness of breadth, 
the softness and the majesty, the fulness and the spirituality, of 
the Greek the contour which the god Apollo revealed but in a 
dream, to Cleomenes, the son of the Athenian. And then I peered 
into the large eyes of Ligeia. 

For eyes we have no models in the remotely antique. It might 
have been, too, that in these eyes of my beloved lay the secret to 
which Lord Verulam alludes. They were, I must believe, far 
larger than the ordinary eyes of our own race. They were even 
fuller than the fullest of the gazelle eyes of the tribe of the valley 
of Nourjahad. Yet it was only at intervals in moments of intense 
excitement that this peculiarity became more than slightly notice 
able in Ligeia. And at such moments was her beauty in my 
heated fancy thus it appeared perhaps the beauty of beings either 
above or apart from the earth the beauty of the fabulous HoXiri 
of the Turk. The hue of the orbs was the most brilliant of black, 
and, far over them, hung jetty lashes of great length. The brows, 
slightly irregular in outline, had the same tint. The " strangeness," 
however, which I found in the eyes, was of a nature distinct from 
the formation, or the colour, or the brilliancy of the features, and 
must, after all, be referred to the expression. Ah, word of no 
meaning ! behind whose vast latitude of mere sound we intrench 
our ignorance of so much of the spiritual. The expression of the 
eyes of Ligeia ! How for long hours have I pondered upon it ! 
How have I, through the whole of a midsummer night, struggled 
to fathom it ! What was it that something more profound than 
the well of Democritus which lay far within the pupils of my be 
loved] what ivas it *? I was possessed with a passion to discover. 
Those eyes, those large, those shining, those divine orbs 1 they 
became to me twin stars of Leda, and I to them devout ost of 
astrologers. 

There is no point, among the many incomprehensible anomalies 
of the science of mind, more thrillingly exciting than the fact 
never, I believe noticed in the schools that in our endeavours to 

222 



340 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

recall to memory something long forgotten, we often find ourselves 
upon the very verge of remembrance, without being able, in the end, 
to remember. And thus how frequently, in my intense scrutiny 
of Ligeia s eyes, have I felt approaching the full knowledge of 
their expression felt it approaching yet not quite be mine and 
so at length entirely depart ! And (strange, oh strangest mystery 
of all !) I found in the commonest objects of the universe, a circle 
of analogies to that expression. I mean to say that, subsequently 
to the period when Ligeia s beauty passed into my spirit, there 
dwelling as in a shrine, I derived, from many existences in the 
material world, a sentiment such as I felt always around, within 
me, by her large and luminous orbs. Yet not the more could I 
define that sentiment, or analyze, or even steadily view it. I 
recognised it, let me repeat, sometimes in the survey of a rapidly- 
growing vine in the contemplation of a moth, a butterfly, a, 
chrysalis, a stream of running water. I have felt it in the ocean ; 
in the falling of a meteor. I have felt it in the glances of unusually 
aged people. And there are one or two stars in heaven, (one 
especially, a star of the sixth magnitude, double and changeable, to 
be found near the large star in Lyra,) in a telescopic scrutiny of which 
I have been made aware of the feeling. I have been filled with it by 
certain sounds from stringed instruments, and not unfrequently by 
passages from books. Among innumerable other instances, I well 
remember something in a volume of Joseph Glanvil, which (per 
haps merely from its quaintness who shall say 1} never failed to 
inspire me with the sentiment : " And the will therein lieth, which 
dieth not. Who knoweth the mysteries of the will, with its vigour 1 ? 
For God is but a great will pervading all things by nature of its 
intentness. Man doth not yield him to the angels, nor unto death 
utterly, save only through the weakness of his feeble will." 

Length of years and subsequent reflection have enabled me to 
trace, indeed, some remote connection between this passage in the 
English moralist and a portion of the character of Ligeia. An 
intensity in thought, action, or speech, was possibly, in her, a re 
sult, or at least an index, of- that gigantic volition which, during 
our long intercourse, failed to give other and more immediate 
evidence of its existence. Of all the women whom I have ever 
known, she, the outwardly calm, the ever-placid Ligeia, was the 
most violently a prey to the tumultuous vultures of stern passion. 
And of such passion I could form no estimate, save by the 



LIGEIA. 34! 

miraculous expansion of those eyes which at once so delighted 
and appalled me by the almost magical melody, modulation, 
distinctness, and placidity of her very low voice and by the 
fierce energy (rendered doubly effective by contrast with her 
manner of utterance) of the wild words which she habitually 
uttered. 

I have spoken of the learning of Ligeia : it was immense such 
as I have never known in woman. In the classical tongues was she 
deeply proficient, and as far as my own acquaintance extended in 
regard to the modern dialects of Europe, I have never known her 
at fault. Indeed upon any theme of the most admired, because 
simply the most abstruse of the boasted erudition of the academy, 
have I ever found Ligeia at fault 1 How singularly how thril- 
lingly, this one point in the nature of my wife has forced itself, at 
this late period only, upon my attention ! I said her knowledge 
was such as I have never known in woman but where breathes 
the man who has traversed, and successfully, all the wide areas of 
moral, physical, and mathematical science 1 I saw not then what 
I. now clearly perceive, that the acquisitions of Ligeia were gigantic, 
were astounding ; yet I was sufficiently aware of her infinite 
supremacy to resign myself, with a child-like confidence, to her 
guidance through the chaotic world of metaphysical investigation 
at which I was most busily occupied during the earlier years of our 
marriage. With, how vast a triumph with how vivid a delight 
with how much of all that is ethereal in hope did I feel, as she 
bent over me in studies but little sought but less known that 
delicious vista by slow degree* expanding before me, down whose 
long, gorgeous, . and all untrodden path, I might at length pass 
onward to the goal of a wisdom too divinely precious not to be 
forbidden ! 

How poignant, then, must have been the grief with which, after 
some years, I beheld my well-grounded expectations take wings to 
themselves and fly away ! Without Ligeia I was but as a child 
groping benighted. Her presence, her readings alone, rendered 
vividly luminous the many mysteries of the transcendentalism in 
which we were immersed. Wanting the radiant lustre of her eyes, 
letters, lambent and golden, grew duller than Saturnian lead. 
And now those eyes shone less and less frequently upon the pages 
over which I pored. Ligeia grew ill. The wild eyes blazed with 
a too too glorious effulgence ; the pale fingers became of the trans- 



342 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

parent waxen line of the grave ; and the blue veins upon the lofty 
forehead swelled and sank impetuously with the tides of the most 
gentle emotion. I saw that she must die and I struggled despe 
rately in spirit with the grim Azrael. And the struggles of the 
passionate wife were, to my astonishment, even more energetic 
than my own. There had been much in her stern nature to im 
press me with the belief that, to her, death would have come without 
its terrors ; but not so. Words are impotent to convey any just 
idea of the fierceness of resistance with which she wrestled with 
the Shadow. I groaned in anguish at the pitiable spectacle. I 
would have soothed I would have reasoned ; but, in the intensity 
of her wild desire for life for life but for life solace and reason 
were alike the uttermost of folly. Yet not until the last instance, 
amid the most convulsive writhings of her fierce spirit, was shaken 
the external placidity of her demeanour. Her voice grew more 
gentle grew more low yet I would not wish to dwell upon the 
wild meaning of the quietly uttered words. My brain reeled as I 
hearkened, entranced, to a melody more than mortal to assump 
tions and aspirations which mortality had never before known. 

That she loved me I should not have doubted ; and I might 
have been easily aware that, in a bosom such as hers, love would 
have reigned no ordinary passion. But in death only was I fully 
impressed with the strength of her affection. For long hours, 
detaining my hand, would she pour out before me the overflowing 
of a heart whose more than passionate devotion amounted to 
idolatry. How had I deserved to be so blessed by such confessions ? 
how had I deserved to be so cursed with the removal of my 
beloved in the hour of her making them 1 But upon this subject 
I cannot bear to dilate. Let me say only, that in Ligeia s more 
than womanly abandonment to a love, alas ! all unmerited, all 
unworthily bestowed, I at length recognized the principle of her 
Ion "ing, with so wildly earnest a desire, for the life which was now 
fleeing so rapidly away. It is this wild longing it is this eager 
vehemence of desire for life but for life that I have no power to 
portray no utterance capable of expressing. 

At high noon of the night in which she departed, beckoning me, 
peremptorily, to her side, she bade me repeat certain verses 
composed by herself not many days before. I obeyed her. They 
were these : 



LI G ETA. 343 

Lo ! tis a gala night 

Within the lonesome latter years ! 
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight 

In veils, and drowned in tears, 
Sit in a theatre, to see 

A play of hopes and fears, 
While the orchestra breathes fitfully 

The music of the spheres. 

Mimes, in the form of God on high, 

Mutter and mumble low, 
And hither and thither fly ; 

Mere puppets they, who come and go 
At bidding of vast formless things 

That shift the scenery to and fro. 
Flapping from out their condor wings 

Invisible Woe ! 

That motley drama ! oh, be sure 

It shall not be forgot ! 
With its Phantom chased for evermore, 

By a crowd that seize it not, 
Through a circle that ever returneth in 

To the self-same spot ; 
And much of Madness, and more of Sin 

And Horror, the soul of the plot ! 

But see, amid the mimic rout 

A crawling shape intrude ! 
A blood-red thing lhat writhes from out 

The scenic solitude ! 
It writhes ! it writhes ! with mortal pam: 3 

The mimes become its food, 
And the seraphs sob at vermin fangs 

In human gore imbued. 

Out out are the lights out all ! 

And over each quivering form, 
The curtain, a funeral pall, 

Comes down with the rush of a storm 
And the angels, all pallid and wan, 

Uprising, unveiling, affirm 
That the play is the tragedy, "Mail," 

And its hero, the Conqueror Worm, 

" O God ! " half-shrieked Ligeia, leaping to her feet and extending 
her arms aloft with a spasmodic movement, as I made an end of 
these lines" O God ! Divine Father ! shall these things be 
undeviatingly so ] shall this conqueror be not once conquered 1 
A re we not part and parcel in Thee 1 ? Who who knoweth the 
mysteries of the will with its vigour ] Man doth not yield him 



.544 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

to the angels, nor unto death utterly, save only through the weakness 
of his feeble will." 

And now, as if exhausted with emotion, she suffered her white 
arms to fall, and returned solemnly to her bed of death. And as 
she breathed her last sighs, there came mingled with them a low 
murmur from her lips. I bent to them my ear, and distinguished 
again, the concluding words of the passage in Glanvil : " Mem 
doth not yield him to the angels, nor unto death utterly^ save only 
through the weakness of his feeble will." 

She died : and I, crushed into the very dust with sorrow, could 
no longer endure the lonely desolation of my dwelling in the dim 
and decaying city by the Rhine. I had no lack of what the world 
calls wealth. Ligeia had brought me far more, very far more than 
ordinarily falls to the lot of mortals. After a few months, there 
fore, of weary and aimless wandering, I purchased, and put in some 
repair, an abbey, which I shal] not name, in one of the wildest 
and least frequented portions of fair England. The gloomy and 
dreary grandeur of the building, the almost savage aspect of the 
domain, the many melancholy and time-honoured memories con 
nected with both, had much in unison with the feelings of utter 
abandonment which had driven me into that remote and unsocial 
region of the country. Yet although the external abbey, with its 
verdant decay hanging about it, suffered but little alteration, 1 
gave way, with a child-like perversity, and perchance with a faint 
hope of alleviating my sorrows, to a display of more than regal 
magnificence within. For such follies, even in childhood, I had 
imbibed a taste, and now they came back to me as if in the dotage 
of grief. Alas, I feel how much even of incipient madness might 
have been discovered in the gorgeous and fantastic draperies, in the 
solemn carvings of Egypt, in the wild cornices and furniture, in 
the Bedlam patterns of the carpets of tufted gold 1 1 had become 
a bounden slave in the trammels of opium, and my labours and my 
orders had taken a colouring from my dreams. But these absurdi 
ties 1 must not pause to detail. Let me speak only of that one 
chamber, ever accursed, whither in a moment of mental alienation, 
I led from the altar as my bride as the successor of the unf orgotten 
Ligeia the fair-haired and blue-eyed Lady Eowena Trevanion, of 
Tremaine. 

There is no individual portion of the architecture and decoration 
of that bridal chamber which is not now visibly before me. Where 



LIGEIA. 345 

Were the souls of the haughty family of the bride, when, through 
thirst of gold, they permitted to pass the threshold of an apartment 
50 bedecked, a maiden and a daughter so beloved ] I have said, 
that I minutely remember the details of the chamber yet I am 
sadly forgetful on topics of deep moment ; and here there was no 
system, no keeping, in the fantastic display, to take hold upon the 
memory. The room lay in a high turret of the castellated abbey, 
was pentagonal in shape, and of capacious size. Occupying the 
whole southern face of the pentagon was the sole window an im 
mense sheet of unbroken glass from Venice a single pane, and 
tinted of a leaden hue, so that the rays of either the sun or moon 
passing through it, fell with a ghastly lustre on the objects within. 
Over the upper portion of this huge window extended the trellis- 
work of an aged vine, which clambered up the massy walls of the 
turret. The ceiling, of gloomy-looking oak, was excessively lofty, 
vaulted, and elaborately fretted with the wildest and most gro 
tesque specimens of a semi-Gothic, semi-Druidical device. From 
out the most central recess of this melancholy vaulting, depended, 
by a single chain of gold with long links, a huge censer of the same 
metal, Saracenic in pattern, and with many perforations so con 
trived that there writhed in and out of them, as if endued with a 
serpent vitality, a continual succession of parti-coloured fires. 

Some few ottomans and golden candelabra, of Eastern figure, 
were in various stations about ; and there was the couch, too the 
bridal couch of an Indian model, and low, and sculptured of solid 
ebony, with a pall-like canopy above. In each of the angles of the 
chamber stood on end a gigantic sarcophagus of black granite, from 
the tombs of the kings over against Luxor, with their aged lids full 
of immemorial sculpture. But in the draping of the apartment lay, 
alas ! the chief fantasy of all. The lofty walls, gigantic in height 
even unproportionably so were hung from summit to foot, in vast 
folds, with a heavy and massive-looking tapestry tapestry of a 
material which was found alike as a carpet on the floor, as a cover 
ing for the ottomans and the ebony bed, as a canopy for the bed, 
and as the gorgeous volutes of the curtains which partially shaded 
the window. The material was the richest cloth of gold. It was 
spotted all over, at irregular intervals, with arabesque figures, about 
a foot in diameter, and wrought upon the cloth in patterns of the 
most jetty black. But these figures partook of the true character 
of the arabesque only when regarded from a single point of view. 



OF XVGAK AILAX 

Fiy a r.uiti- u . . inmon, and indeed traceable to a very 

:u it LI in ry, they were made changeable in aspect. 

l\. ,.it. mi c- 1 1 tig the room, they bore the appearance of aimple 

i. -a ; but upon a farther advance, this appearance gradu- 

1 ; and, step by step, as the visitor moved hia station 

m ( !., (d nnher, he saw himself surrounded by an endless succession 

1-t i lu : .: h.istjy forma which belong to the buperatition of the Norman, 

t - in the guilty slumbers of the monk. The phantasmagoric 

\\ as vastly heightened by the artificial introduction of a strong 

r Minimal current of wind behind the draperies giving a hideous 

an. I uiu-.-r \ animation to the ;-..:. 

I it I nils such aa these in a bridal chamber such aa this -I passed, 

with the Lady of Tmnaine, the unhallowed hours of the first month 

of our marriage passed them with but little disquietude. That 

my wife dreaded the fierce moodineaa of my temper that ahe 

nlmnmul me, and loved me but little I could not help perceiving ; 

<ave me rather pleasure than otherwise, I loathed her with 

longing more to demon than to man. My memory flew 

v oh, with what intensity of regret!) to kigeia, the beloved, 

\ he beautiful, the entombed. I revelled in recollectiona 

of her purity, of her wisdom, of her lofty, her ethereal nature, of 

>te, her idolatrous love, Xow, then, did my spirit fully 

<uul iuvl\ luru with more than all the mvs of her own. In the 

u i>t of my opium dreams, (for I was habitually fettered in 

\cklea of the drug,) I would call aloud upon her name, during 

the silence of the night, or among the sheltered rticesaea of the glena 

by day, as if, through the wild eagerness, the solemn jvasaion, the 

consuming ardour of my longing for the departed, i could restore 

her to the pathway ahe had abandoned ah, wM it be for ever I 

v i he earth, 

\ .nmenoement of the second month of the marria#\ 

i ; \\ as attacked with sudden illne**, from which htn 

\v. The fever which consumed her rendered her 

and in her perturbed &tate of half slumber, she 

and of motion*, in and about the chamber of the 

turret, which I concluded had no origin save in the tlistemper of 

her fancy, or perhaps in the phantasmagoric influence* of the 

chamber itaelf, &he became at length convalescent finally, >vell 

Yet but a brief period elapsed ert a second more violent dUoixler 

a^ain threw he* upon a bed of iuflering ; and fixxm thia attack hev 



, At Oil linn* f< : 

U-t ,. ..ih, II,.:- , , . , i 

)ti< "< i ...... u.i^t. <(! i 

Wiii.ii.. m.ctuijK) of tin <?hrimi4 1u- 
IIA/I tliu*, A|)Amntly, tftlwn too SUM Iiol4 upon Inr <wi*i-<" 
be* cwiritaAttf l by IHIHIAII nnAn<*, I oouUl not fail to otaurvd ; 

Jni t tfAW* III tin IWVOtW imtfltlon Of ln f t<;ni|U>|<Dlt -|)t 4 41)4 

*)M;)t Ability by i . .- . .1 t>Ati<ti<i of ( " : -i. i &g*UH 4 <*>> 

)0r* fV4i|U4Mtly AM1 y^tJHA^IiHWlyi <>f tin fitOUM U Of II,. 

.-... i.- .. -.-I of tin 1.1. .. -I . i ....;.-,,.. AMIOM^ tin (o^^ti)^ to svlu h 



:" - : " <! 

l^OI) l 

Mli^ lm<1 jtittt . .-., , -i tr. .,, AH . .-. i lumW, *n4 I i 
WAt<;h)i)^ vyjtl* f*--dlUii/* Iwlf of AH^M/^ lUf of VAgm 

WOt jiMJipl Of l^r ctlHAA-lAtcii i-oiihtt it<M" ) ::> I V H,t 

, u|)oii om of tin ottoHiAiiat of l4><i. Hln ) 

hi AH wU llOat low W||)<IM*| | Of HMl4o Wll) ! > /.- 

wli*;li I t?oul4 not IKW^ of motion** wlii<?li f*)n // - 
I W not ^wJv* Tin wi4 WA<* rw4iiMt{ li" 
tin t<i|M^ti^ Aii4 i wi#ln4 to dliow Inr (wlmt, Ut im 
ii,, I *;otil4 not /// l^lioyc) ilxit UIM Alinoot iMWdMilota 
Ai4 tl*teM v^ry ijoittl^ VAiiutioim of tin f)gu. 
hilt tin HAtuml i JU- i? of that f:ifeloniA-y >u.- 

w, liAi rov< i i 
nn tliAt my ..,,,.,.> .< <A<UIM Ini woiil4 IM 

fAintii% A>4 i , < 

1 

AIM! li<^ 
it. I Jut, A* I fric : ; -i ; < ,., ..i i. tin li^lit of tin < 

two 4i|t;uilltA||jt^ of A :..< ...;. ..- u, c ( ,n , ;,, I ( .1 , -, ..? ! <,.!.... I 

!..<) f<. ii 1 1, ..i. .-.,<,, j,;,i t ,.,t/!t (tiLiiKUi/h inv){H)|(i >i/)t (, |)4>4 
)){xlitly by niy p^i^in j Aii4 I AW tliAt tlm^ Uy unon tin 
. IK i. ( in tin vc i y < i.i i< of tin i, i . .>i r tlirown flow tin 

of Ang4ln Atiu^t 

J,c f ;,,,...! J. , I | 4 t fr|*itl/W Of Of A <I|A<1^ Hilt I W. 

tin t^^iunnni of A Mnni44dftit4 4.^< of OM)MIN -! 
iin^ but little, nor nofc* of tlnni to MOW^MA. l< 
*t- win^t I I * - lHoi/t> ( <*4 uom44 out A 

. I ).< i-1 to > ^in li<> ^ 



348 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

partially recovered, however, and took the vessel herself, while I 
sank upon an ottoman near me, with my eyes fastened upon her 
person. It was then that I became distinctly aware of a gentle 
footfall upon the carpet, and near the couch ; and in a second 
thereafter, as Rowena was in the act of raising the wine to her lips, 
I saw, or may have dreamed that I saw, fall within the goblet, as if 
from some invisible spring in the atmosphere of the room, three or 
four large drops of a brilliant and ruby-coloured fluid. If this I 
saw not so Rowena. She swallowed the wine unhesitatingly, and 
I forbore to speak to her of a circumstance which must, after all, I 
considered, have been but the suggestion of a vivid imagination, 
rendered morbidly active by the terror of the lady, by the opium, 
and by the hour. 

Yet I cannot conceal it from my own perception that, immedi 
ately subsequent to the fall of the ruby- drops, a rapid change for 
the worse took place in the disorder of my wife ; so that, on the 
third subsequent night, the hands of her menials prepared her for 
the tomb, and on the fourth, I sat alone, with her shrouded body, 
in that fantastic chamber which had received her as iny bride. 
Wild visions, opium-engendered, flitted, shadow-like, before me. 
I gazed with unquiet eye upon the sarcophagi in the angles of the 
room, upon the varying figures of the drapery, and upon the 
writhing of the parti-coloured fires in the censer overhead. My 
eyes then fell, as I called to mind the circumstances of a former 
night, to the spot boneath the glare of the censer where I had 
seen the faint traces of the shadow. It was there, however, no 
longer ; and breathing with greater freedom, I turned my glances 
to the pallid and rigid figure upon the bed. Then rushed upon 
me a thousand memories of Ligeia and then came back upon 
my heart, with the turbulent violence of a flood, the whole of that 
unutterable woe with which I had regarded her thus enshrouded. 
The night waned ; and still, with a bosom full of bitter thoughts 
of the one only and supremely beloved, I remained gazing upon 
the body of Rowena. 

It might have been midnight, or perhaps earlier, or later, for I 
had taken no note of time, when a sob, low, gentle, but very dis 
tinct, startled me from my revery. I felt that it came from the 
bed of ebony the bed of death. I listened in an agony of super 
stitious terror but there was no repetition of the sound. I strained 
my vision to detect any motion in the corpse but there was not the 



L1GEIA. 349 

slightest perceptible. Yet I could not have been deceived. I had 
heard the noise, however faint, and my soul was awakened within 
me. I resolutely and perseveringly kept my attention riveted upon 
the body. Many minutes elapsed before any circumstance occurred 
tending to throw light upon the mystery. At length it became 
evident that a slight, a very feeble, and barely noticeable tinge of 
colour had flushed up within the cheeks, and along the sunken 
small veins of the eyelids. Through a species of unutterable horror 
and awe, for which the language of mortality has no sufficiently 
energetic expression, I felt my heart cease to beat, my limbs grow 
rigid where I sat. Yet a sense of duty finally operated to restore 
my self-possession. I could no longer doubt that we had been pre 
cipitate in our preparations that Rowena still lived. It was 
necessary that some immediate exertion be made ; yet the turret 
was altogether apart from the portion of the abbey tenanted by 
the servants there were none within call I had no means of 
summoning them to my aid without leaving the room for many 
minutes and this I could not venture to do. I therefore struggled 
alone in my endeavours to call back the spirit still hovering. In 
a short period it was certain, however, that a relapse had taken 
place ; the colour disappeared from both eyelid and cheek, leaving 
a wanness even more than that of marble ; the lips became doubly 
shrivelled and pinched up in the ghastly expression of death ; a 
repulsive clamminess arid coldness overspread rapidly the surface of 
the body ; and all the usual rigorous stiffness immediately super 
vened. I fell back with a shudder upon the couch from which I 
had been so startlingly aroused, and again gave myself up to 
passionate waking visions of Ligeia. 

An hour thus elapsed, when (could it be possible?) I was a 
second time aware of some vague sound issuing from the region 
of the bed. I listened in extremity of horror. The sound came 
again it was a sigh. Hushing to the corpse, I saw distinctly 
saw a tremor upon the lips. In a minute afterward they relaxed, 
disclosing a bright line of the pearly teeth. Amazement now strug 
gled in my bosom with the profound awe which had hitherto 
reigned there alone. I felt that my vision grew dim, that my 
reason wandered ; and it was only by a violent effort that I at 
length succeeded in nerving myself to the task which duty thus 
once more had pointed out. There was now a partial glow upon 
the forehead and upon the cheek and throat ; a perceptible 



350 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE, 

warmth pervaded the whole frame ; there was even a slight pul 
sation at the heart. The lady lived ; and with redoubled ardour 
I betook myself to the task of restoration. I chafed and bathed 
the temples and the hands, and used every exertion which ex 
perience, and no little medical reading, could suggest. But in vain. 
Suddenly, the colour fled, the pulsation ceased, the lips resumed 
the expression of the dead, and, in an instant afterward, the whole 
body took upon itself the icy chilliness, the livid hue, the intense 
rigidity, the sunken outline, and all the loathsome peculiarities of 
that which has been, for many days, a tenant of the tomb, 

And again I sunk into visions of Ligeia and again, (what 
marvel that I shudder while I write 1) again there reached my ears 
a low sob from the region of the ebony bed. But why shall I 
minutely detail the unspeakable horrors of that night ] Why shall 
I pause to relate how, time after time, until near the period of the 
grey dawn, this hideous drama of revivification was repeated ; how 
each terrific relapse was only into a sterner and apparently more 
irredeemable death ; how each agony wore the aspect of a struggle 
with some invisible foe ; and how each struggle was succeeded 
by I know not what of wild change in the personal appearance of 
the corpse 1 Let me hurry to a conclusion. 

The greater part of the fearful night had worn away, and she 
who had been dead, once again stirred and now more vigorously 
than hitherto, although arousing from a dissolution more appalling 
in its utter hopelessness than any. I had long ceased to struggle 
or to move, and remained sitting rigidly upon the ottoman, a help 
less prey to a whirl of violent emotions, of which extreme awe was 
perhaps the least terrible, the least consuming. The corpse, I 
repeat, stirred, and now more vigorously than before. The hues of 
life flushed up with unwonted energy into the countenance the 
limbs relaxed and, save that the eyelids were yet pressed heavily 
together and that the bandages and draperies of the grave still im 
parted their charnel character to the figure, I might have dreamed 
that Bowena had indeed shaken off, utterly, the fetters of Death. 
But if this idea was not, even then, altogether adopted, I could at 
least doubt no longer, when arising from the bed, tottering, with 
feeble steps, with closed eyes, and with the manner of one be 
wildered in a dream, the thing that was enshrouded advanced 
boldly and palpably into the middle of the apartment. 

I trembled not I stirred not- f or a crowd of unutterable fancies 



LIG El A. 



351 



connected with the air, the stature, the demeanour of the figure, 
rushing hurriedly through my brain, had paralyzed had chilled 
me into stone. I stirred not but gazed upon the apparition. 
There was a mad disorder in my thoughts a tumult unappeasable. 
Could it, indeed, be the living Rowena who confronted me? 
Could it indeed be Rowena at all the fair-haired, the blue-eyed 
Lady Rowena Trevanion of Tremaine 1 Why, why should I doubt 
it 1 The bandage lay heavily about the mouth but then might 
it not be the mouth of the breathing Lady of Tremaine ? And 
the cheeks there were the roses as in her noon of life yes, these 
might indeed be the fair cheeks of the living Lady of Tremaine. 
And the chin, with its dimples, as in health, might it not be 
hers *? but had she then grown taller since her malady ? What 
inexpressible madness seized me with that thought 1 One bound, 
and I had reached her feet ! Shrinking from my touch, she let 
fall from her head, unloosened, the ghastly cerements which had 
confined it, and there streamed forth, into the rushing atmosphere 
of the chamber, huge masses of long and dishevelled hair ; it was 
blacker than the raven ivings of midnight ! And now slowly 
opened the eyes of the figure which stood before me. " Here then, 
at least," I siirieked aloud, " can I never can I never be mistaken 
these are the full, and the black, and the wild eyes of my lost 
love of the Lady of the LADY LIGEIA." 



SHADOW.-A PARABLE, 

* Yea ! though I walk through the valley of the Shadow." 

Psalm of David. 

|E who read are still among the living : but I who write shall 
have long since gone my way into the region of shadows. 
For indeed strange things shall happen, and secret things 
be known, and many centuries shall pass away, ere these memorials 
be seen of men. And, when seen, there will be some to disbelieve, 
and some to doubt, and yet a few who will find much to ponder 
upon in the characters here graven with a stylus of iron. 

The year had been a year of terror, and of feelings more intense 
than terror for which there is no name upon the earth. For many 
prodigies and signs had taken place, and far and wide, over sea and 
land, the black wings of the Pestilence were spread abroad. To those, 



. 

352 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

nevertheless, cunning in the stars, it was not unknown that the 
heavens wore an aspect of ill ; and to me, the Greek Oinos, among 
others, it was evident that now had arrived the alternation of that 
seven hundred and ninety-fourth year when, at the entrance of 
Aries, the planet Jupiter is conjoined with the red ring of the ter-. 
rible Saturnus. The peculiar spirit of the skies, if I mistake not 
greatly, made itself manifest, not only in the physical orb of the 
earth, but in the souls, imaginations, and meditations of mankind. 
Over some flasks of the red Chian wine, within the walls of a 
noble hall, in a dim city called Ptolemais, we sat, at night, a com 
pany of seven. And to our chamber there was no entrance save by 
a lofty door of brass : and the door was fashioned by the artisan 
Corinnos, and, being of rare workmanship, was fastened from 
within. Black draperies, likewise, in the gloomy room, shut out 
from our view the moon, the lurid stars, and the peopleless streets 
but the boding and the memory of Evil, they would not be so ex 
cluded. There were things around us and about of which I can 
render no distinct account things material and spiritual heavi 
ness in the atmosphere a sense of suffocation anxiety and, 
above all, that terrible state of existence which the nervous experi 
ence when the senses are keenly living and awake, and meanwhile 
the powers of thought lie dormant. A dead weight hung upon us. 
It hung upon our limbs upon the household furniture upon the 
goblets from which we drank ; and all things were depressed, and 
borne down thereby all things save only the flames of the seven 
iron lamps which illumined our revel. Uprearing themselves in, 
tall slender lines of light, they thus remained burning all pallid 
and motionless ; and in the mirror which their lustre formed upon 
the round table of ebony at which we sat, each of us there assembled 
beheld the pallor of his own countenance, and the unquiet glare in 
the downcast eyes of his companions. Yet we laughed and were 
merry in our proper way which was hysterical; and sang the 
songs of Anacreon which are madness ; and drank deeply 
although the purple wine reminded us of blood. For there was 
yet another tenant of our chamber in the person of young Zoilus. 
Dead, and at full length he lay, enshrouded ; the genius and the 
demon of the scene. Alas ! he bore no portion in our mirth, save 
that his countenance, distorted with the plague, and his eyes in 
which Death had but half extinguished the fire of the pestilence, 
seemed to take such interest in our merriment as the dead may 



SHADOW. A PARABLE. 353 

haply take in the merriment of those who are to die. But, although 
I, Oinos, felt that the eyes of the departed were upon me, still I 
forced myself not to perceive the bitterness of their expression, and, 
gazing down steadily into the depths of the ebony mirror, sang with 
a loud and sonorous voice the songs of the son of Teios. But 
gradually my songs they ceased, and their echoes, rolling afar off 
among the sable draperies of the chamber, became weak, and undis- 
tinguishable, and so faded away. And lo ! from among those sable 
draperies where the sounds of the song departed, there came forth 
a dark and undefined shadow a shadow such as the moon, when 
low in heaven, might fashion from the figure of a man : but it was 
the shadow neither of man nor of God, nor of any familiar thing. 
And quivering awhile among the draperies of the room, it at length 
rested in full view upon the surface of the door of brass. But the 
shadow was vague, and formless, and indefinite, and was the shadow 
neither of man nor God neither God of Greece, nor God of 
Chaldea, nor any Egyptian God. And the shadow rested upon the 
brazen doorway, and under the arch of the entablature of the door, 
and moved not, nor spoke any word, but there became stationary 
and remained. And the door whereupon the shadow rested was, 
if I remember aright, over against the feet of the young Zoilus 
enshrouded. But we, the seven there assembled, having seen the 
shadow as it came out from among the draperies, dared not steadily 
behold it, but cast down our eyes, and gazed continually into the 
depths of the mirror of ebony. And at length I, Oinos, speaking 
some low words, demanded of the shadow its dwelling and its 
appellation. And the shadow answered, " I am SHADOW, and 
my dwelling is near to the catacombs of Ptolemais, and hard by 
those dim plains of Helusion which border upon the foul Charonian 
canal." And then did we, the seven, start from our seats in horror, 
and stand trembling, and shuddering, and aghast : for the tones in 
the voice of the shadow were not the tones of any one being, but 
of a multitude of beings, and, varying in their cadences from sylla 
ble to syllable, fell duskily upon our ears in the well-remembered 
and familiar accents of many thousand departed friends. 



354 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 



SILENCE.-A FABLE, 

"EvSovaiv d optwv KopvQai re Kat 

re icai xapadpai." Aloiian, 



The mountain pinnacles slumber ; valleys, crags and caves are silent. 

ISTEN to me," said the Demon, as he placed his hand upon 
my head. "The region of which I speak is a dreary 
region in Libya, by the borders of the river Zaire. And 
there is no quiet there, nor silence. 

" The waters of the river have a saffron and sickly hue ; and they 
flow not onward to the sea, but palpitate for ever and for ever 
beneath the red eye of the sun with a tumultuous and convulsive 
motion. For many miles on either side of the river s oozy bed is a 
pale desert of gigantic water-lilies. They sigh one unto the other 
in that solitude, and stretch towards the heaven their long and 
ghastly necks, and nod to and fro their everlasting heads. And 
there is an indistinct murmur which cometh out from among them 
like the rushing of subterrene water. And they sigh one unto the 
other. 

" But there is a boundary to their realm the boundary of the 
dark, horrible, lofty forest. There, like the waves about the He 
brides, the low underwood is agitated continually. But there is no 
wind throughout the heaven. And the tall primeval trees rock 
eternally hither and thither with a crashing and mighty sound. 
And from their high summits, one by one, drop everlasting dews. 
And at the roots strange poisonous flowers lie writhing in perturbed 
slumber. And overhead, with a rustling and loud noise, the gray 
clouds rush westwardly for ever, until they roll, a cataract, over the 
fiery wall of the horizon. But there is no wind throughout the 
heaven. And by the shores of the river Zaire there is neither quiet 
nor silence. 

"It was night, and the rain fell ; and, falling, it was rain, but, 
having fallen, it was blood. And I stood in the morass among the 
tall lilies, and the rain fell upon my head and the lilies sighed one 
unto the other in the solemnity of their desolation. 

" And, all at once, the moon arose through the thin ghastly mist, 
and was crimson in colour. And mine eyes fell upon a huge gray 



SILENCE. A FABLE. 355 

rock which stood by the shore of the river, and was lighted by the 
light of the moon. And the rock was gray, and ghastly, and tall, 
and the rock was gray. Upon its front were characters engraven 
in the stone ; and I walked through the morass of water-lilies, until 
I came close unto the shore, that I might read the characters upon 
the stone. But I could not decipher them. And I was going back 
into the morass, when the moon shone with a fuller red, and I 
turned and looked again upon the rock, and upon the characters ; 
and the characters were DESOLATION. 

" And I looked upwards, and there stood a man upon the sum 
mit of the rock ; and I hid myself among the water-lilies that I 
might discover the actions of the man. And the man was tall and 
stately in form, and was wrapped up from his shoulders to his feet 
in the toga of old Rome. And the outlines of his figure were indis 
tinct but his features were the features of a deity ; for the mantle 
of the night, and of the mist, and of the moon, and of the dew, had 
left uncovered the features of his face. And his brow was lofty 
with thought, and his eye wild with care ; and in the] few furrows 
upon his cheek I read the fables of sorrow, and weariness, and 
disgust with mankind, and a longing after solitude. 

" And the man sat upon the rock, and leaned his head upon his 
hand, and looked out upon the desolation. He looked down into 
the low unquiet shrubbery, and up into the tall primeval trees, and 
up higher at the rustling heaven, and into the crimson moon. And 
I lay close within shelter of the lilies, and observed the actions of 
the man. And the man trembled in the solitude ; but the night 
waned, and he sat upon the rock. 

"And the man turned his attention from the heaven, and looked 
out upon the dreary river Zaire, and upon the yellow ghastly waters, 
and upon the pale legions of the water-lilies. And the man 
listened to the sighs of the water-lilies, and to the murmur that 
came up from among them. And I lay close within my covert, 
and observed the actions of the man. And the man trembled in 
the solitude ; but the night waned, and he sat upon the rock 

" Then I went down into the recesses of the morass, and waded 
afar in among the wilderness of the lilies, and called unto the hip 
popotami which dwelt among the fens in the recesses of the morass. 
And the hippopotami heard my call, and came, with the behemoth, 
unto the foot of the rock, and roared loudly and fearfully beneath 
the moon. And I lay close within my covert, and observed the 

23-2 



356 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

actions of the man. And the man trembled in the solitude ; but 
the night waned, and he sat upon the rock. 

" Then I cursed the elements with the curse of tumult ; and a 
frightful tempest gathered in the heaven, where, before, there had 
been no wind. And the heaven became livid with the violence of 
the tempest and the rain beat upon the head of the man and 
the floods of the river came down and the river was tormented 
into foam and the water-lilies shrieked within their beds and 
the forest crumbled before the wind and the thunder rolled and 
the lightning fell and the rock rocked to its foundation. And I 
lay close within my covert, and observed the actions of the man. 
And the man trembled in the solitude ; but the night waned, and 
he sat upon the rock. 

" Then I grew angry and cursed, with the curse of silence, the 
river, and the lilies, and the wind, and the forest, and the heaven, 
and the thunder, and the sighs of the water-lilies. And they 
became accursed, and were still. And the moon ceased to totter 
up its pathway to heaven and the thunder died away and the 
lightning did not flash and the clouds hung motionless and the 
waters sunk to their level and remained and the trees ceased to 
rock and the water-lilies sighed no more and the murmur was 
heard no longer from among them, nor any shadow of sound 
throughout the vast illimitable desert. And I looked upon the 
characters of the rock, and they were changed ; and the characters 
were SILENCE. 

" And mine eyes fell upon the countenance of the man, and his 
countenance was wan with terror. And, hurriedly, he raised his 
head from his hand, and stood forth upon the rock and listened. 
But there was no voice throughout the vast illimitable desert, and 
the characters upon the rock were SILENCE. And the man shud 
dered, and turned his face away, and fled afar off, in haste, so that 
I beheld him no more." 

**** #* # * 

Now there are fine tales in the volumes of the Magi in the iron- 
bound, melancholy volumes of the Magi. Therein, I say, are glorious 
histories of the Heaven, and of the Earth, and of the mighty sea 
and of the Genii that over-ruled the sea, and the earth, and the 
lofty heaven. There was much lore, too, in the sayings which were 
said by the Sybils ; and holy, holy things were heard of old by the 
dim leaves that trembled around Dodona but, as Allah liveth, 



S1LLNCE.A FABLE. 357 

that fable which the demon told me as he sat by my side in the 
shadow of the tomb, I hold to be the most wonderful of all! And 
as the Demon made an end of his story, he fell back within the 
cavity of the tomb and laughed. And I could not laugh with the 
Demon, and he cursed me because I could not laugh. And the 
lynx which dwelleth for ever in the tomb came out therefrom, and 
lay down at the feet of the Demon, and looked at him steadily iu 
the face. 



A TALE OF THE RAGGED MOUNTAINS, 

URING the fall of the year 1827. while residing near 
Charlottesville, Virginia, I casually made the acquaint 
ance of Mr. Augustus Bedloe. This young gentleman was 
remarkable in every respect, and excited in me a profound interest 
and curiosity. I found it impossible to comprehend him either in 
his moral or his physical relations. Of his family I could obtain no 
satisfactory account. Whence he came, I never ascertained. Even 
about his age although I call him a young gentleman there was 
something which perplexed me in no little degree. He certainly 
seemed young and he made a point of speaking about his youth 
yet there were moments when I should have had little trouble 
in imagining him a hundred years of age. But in no regard was 
he more peculiar than in his personal appearance. He was singu 
larly tall and thin. He stooped much. His limbs were exceed 
ingly long and emaciated. His forehead was broad and low. His 
complexion was absolutely bloodless. His mouth was large and 
flexible, and his teeth were more wildly uneven, although sound, 
than I had ever before seen teeth in a human head. The expres 
sion of his smile, however, was by no means unpleasing, as might 
be supposed ; but it had no variation whatever. It was one of 
profound melancholy of a phaseless and unceasing gloom. His 
eyes were abnormally large, and round like those of a cat. The 
pupils, too, upon any accession or diminution of light, underwent 
contraction or dilation, just such as is observed in the feline tribe. 
In moments of excitement the orbs grew bright to a degree almost 
inconceivable ; seeming to emit luminous rays, not of a reflected, 
but of an intrinsic lustre, as does a candle or the sun ; yet their 



358 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

ordinary condition was so totally vapid, filmy and dull, as to convey 
the idea of the eyes of a long-interred corpse. 

These peculiarities of person appeared to cause him much annoy 
ance, and he was continually alluding to them in a sort of half 
explanatory, half apologetic strain, which, when I first heard it, 
impressed me very painfully. I soon, however, grew accustomed 
to it, and my uneasiness wore off. It seemed to be his design 
rather to insinuate than directly to assert that, physically, he had 
not always been what he was that a long series of neuralgic 
attacks had reduced him from a condition of more than usual per 
sonal beauty, to that which I saw. For many years past he had 
been attended by a physician, named Templeton an old gentle 
man, perhaps seventy years of age whom he had first encoun 
tered at Saratoga, and from whose attention, while there, he either 
received, or fancied that he received, great benefit. The result 
was that Bedloe, who was wealthy, had made an arrangement with 
Doctor Templeton, by which the latter, in consideration of a 
liberal annual allowance, had consented to devote his time and 
medical experience exclusively to the care of the invalid. 

Doctor Templeton had been a traveller in his younger days, and, 
at Paris, had become a convert, in great measure, to the doctrines 
of Mesmer. It was altogether by means of magnetic remedies that 
he had succeeded in alleviating the acute pains of his patient ; and 
this success had very naturally inspired the latter with a certain 
degree of confidence in the opinions from which the remedies had 
been educed. The doctor, however, like all enthusiasts, had 
struggled hard to make a thorough convert of his pupil, and finally 
so far gained his point as to induce the sufferer to submit to nume 
rous experiments. By a frequent repetition of these a result had 
arisen, which of late days has become so common as to attract 
little or no attention, but which, at the period of which I write, 
had very rarely been known in America. I mean to say, that 
between Doctor Templeton and Bedloe there had grown up, little 
by little, a very distinct and strongly marked rapport, or mag 
netic relation. I am not prepared to assert, however, that this 
rapport extended beyond the limits of the simple sleep-producing 
power ; but this power itself had attained great intensity. At the 
first attempt to induce the magnetic somnolency, the mesmerist 
entirely failed. In the fifth or sixth he succeeded very partially, 
and after long continued effort. Only at the twelfth was the 



A TALE OF THE RAGGED MOUNTAINS. 359 

triumph, complete. After this the will of the patient succumbed 
rapidly to that of the physician, so that, when I first became 
acquainted with the two, sleep was brought about almost instanta 
neously, by the mere volition of the operator, even when the invalid 
was unaware of his presence. It is only now, in the year 1845, 
when similar miracles are witnessed daily by thousands, that I 
dare venture to record this apparent impossibility as a matter of 
serious fact. 

The temperature of Bedloe was, in the highest degree, sensitive, 
excitable, enthusiastic. His imagination was singularly vigorous 
and creative ; and no doubt it derived additional force from the 
habitual use of morphine, which he swallowed in great quantity, 
and without which he would have found it impossible to exist. It 
was his practice to take a very large dose of it immediately after 
breakfast, each morning or rather immediately after a cup of 
strong coffee, for he ate nothing in the forenoon and then set forth 
alone, or attended only by a dog, upon a long ramble among the 
chain of wild and dreary hills that lie westward and southward of 
Charlottesville, and are there dignified by the title of the Ragged 
Mountains. 

Upon a dim, warm, misty day, towards the close of November, 
and during the strange interregnum of the seasons which in America 
is termed the Indian Summer, Mr. Bedloe departed as usual for 
the hills. The day passed, and still he did not return. 

About eight o clock at night, having become seriously alarmed 
at his protracted absence, we were about setting out in search of 
him, when he unexpectedly made his appearance, in health no worse 
than usual, and in rather more than ordinary spirits. The account 
which he gave of his expedition, and of the events which had 
detained him, was a singular one indeed. 

" You will remember," said he, " that it was about nine in the 
morning when I left Charlottesville. I bent my steps immediately 
to the mountains, and about ten, entered a gorge which was entirely 
new to me. I followed the windings of this pass with much 
interest. The scenery which presented itself on all sides, although 
scarcely entitled to be called grand, had about it an indescribable, 
and to me, a delicious aspect of dreary desolation. The solitude 
seemed absolutely virgin. I could not help believing that the 
green sods and the gray rocks upon which I trod, had been trodden 
never before by the foot of a human being. So entirely secluded 



3^0 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

and in fact inaccessible, except through a series of accidents, is 
the entrance of the ravine, that it is by no means impossible that 
I was indeed the first adventurer the very first and sole adven 
turer who had ever penetrated its recesses. 

" The thick and peculiar mist, or smoke, which distinguishes the 
Indian Summer, and which now hung heavily over all objects, 
served, no doubt, to deepen the vague impressions which these 
objects created. So dense was this pleasant fog, that I could at no 
time see more than a dozen yards of the path before me. This 
path was excessively sinuous, and as the sun could not be seen, I 
soon lost all idea of the direction in which I journeyed. In the 
meantime the morphine had its customary effect that of enduing 
all the external world with an intensity of interest. In the quiver 
ing of a leaf in the hue of a blade of grass in the shape of a 
trefoil in the humming of a bee in the gleaming of a dew-drop 
in the breathing of the wind in the faint odours that came from 
the forest there came a whole universe of suggestion a gay and 
motley train of rhapsodical and immethodical thought. 

"Busied in this, I walked on for several hours, during which the. 
mist deepened around me to so great an extent, that at length I 
was reduced to an absolute groping of the way. And now an 
indescribable uneasiness possessed me a species of nervous hesi 
tation and tremor. I feared to tread, lest I should be precipitated 
into some abyss. I remembered too, strange stories told about these 
Bagged Hills, and of the uncouth and fierce races of men who 
tenanted their groves and caverns. A thousand vague fancies 
oppressed and disconcerted me fancies the more distressing 
because vague. Very suddenly my attention was arrested by the 
loud beating of a drum. 

* "My amazement, was, of course, extreme. A drum in these 
hills was a thing unknown. I could not have been more surprised 
at the sound of the trump of the Archangel. But a new and still 
more astounding source of interest and perplexity arose. There 
came a wild rattling or jingling sound, as if of a bunch of large 
keys and upon the instant a dusky- visaged and half-naked man 
rushed past me with a shriek. He came so close to my person that 
I felt his hot breath upon my face. He bore in one hand an 
instrument composed of an assemblage of steel rings, and shook 
them vigorously as he ran. Scarcely had he disappeared in the 
mist, before, panting after him, with open mouth and glaring eyes 



A TALE OF THE RAGGED MOUNTAINS. 361 

there darted a huge beast. I could not be mistaken in its character. 
It was a hyena. 

" The sight of this monster rather relieved than heightened my 
terrors for I now made sure that I dreamed, and endeavoured to 
arouse myself to waking consciousness. I stepped boldly and 
briskly forward. I rubbed my eyes. I called aloud. I pinched 
my limbs. A small spring of water presented itself to my view, 
and here, stooping, I bathed my hands and my head and neck. 
This seemed to dissipate the equivocal sensations which had 
hitherto annoyed me. I arose, as I thought, a new man, and pro 
ceeded steadily and complacently on my unknown way. 

" At length, quite overcome by exertion, and by a certain op 
pressive closeness of the atmosphere, I seated myself beneath a 
tree. Presently there came a feeble gleam of sunshine, and the 
shadow of the leaves of the tree fell faintly but definitely upon the 
grass. At this shadow I gazed wonderingly for many minutes. 
Its character stupified me with astonishment. I looked upward. 
The tree was a palm. 

"I now arose hurriedly, and in a state of fearful agitation for 
the fancy that I dreamed would serve me no longer. I saw I 
felt that I had perfect command of my senses and these senses 
now brought to my soul a world of novel and singular sensation. 
The heat became all at once intolerable. A strange odour loaded 
the breeze. A low continuous murmur, like that arising from a 
full, but gently flowing river, came to my ears, intermingled with 
the peculiar hum of multitudinous human voices. 

" While I listened in an extremity of astonishment which I need 
not attempt to describe, a strong and brief gust of wind bore off 
the incumbent fog as if by the wand of an enchanter. 

" I found myself at the foot of a high mountain, and looking 
down into a vast plain, through which wound a majestic river. 
On the margin of this river stood an Eastern-looking city, such as 
we read of in the Arabian Tales, but of a character even more 
singular than any there described. From my position, which was 
far above the level of the town, I could perceive its every nook 
and corner, as if delineated on a map. The streets seemed innu 
merable, and crossed each other irregularly in all directions, but 
were rather long winding alleys than streets, and absolutely 
swarmed with inhabitants. The houses were wildly picturesque. On 
every hand was a wilderness of balconies, of verandahs, of minarets, 



362 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

of shrines, and fantastically carved oriels. Bazaars abounded j 
and in these were displayed rich wares in infinite variety and pro 
fusion silks, muslins, the most dazzling cutlery, the most mag* 
nificent jewels and gems. Besides these things, were seen, on all 
sides, banners and palanquins, litters with stately dames close 
veiled, elephants gorgeously caparisoned, idols grotesquely hewn, 
drums, banners and gongs, spears, silver and gilded maces. And 
amid the crowd and the clamour, and the general intricacy and 
confusion amid the million of black and yellow men, turbaned 
and robed, and of flowing beard, there roamed a countless multi 
tude of holy filleted bulls, while vast legions of the filthy but 
sacred ape clambered, chattering and shrieking, about the cornices 
of the mosques, or clung to the minarets and oriels, From the 
swarming streets to the banks of the river, there descended innu 
merable flights of steps leading to bathing places, while the river 
itself seemed to force a passage with difficulty through the vast 
fleets of deeply burdened ships that far and wide encountered its 
surface. Beyond the limits of the city arose, in frequent majestic 
groups, the palm and the cocoa, with other gigantic and weird 
trees of vast age ; and here and there might be seen a field of rice, 
the thatched hut of a peasant, a tank, a stray temple, a gipsy 
camp, or a solitary graceful maiden taking her way, with a pitcher 
upon her head, to the banks of the magnificent river. 

" You will say now, of course, that I dreamed ; but not so. 
What I saw what I heard what I felt what I thought had 
about it nothing of the unmistakable idiosyncrasy of the dream. 
All was rigorously self-consistent. At first, doubting that I was 
really awake, I entered into a series of tests, which soon convinced 
me that I really was. Now, when one dreams, and, in the dream, 
suspects that he dreams, the suspicion never fails to confirm itself \ 
and the sleeper is almost immediately aroused. Thus JSovaHs 
errs not in saying that we are near waking when we dream that 
we dream. Had the vision occurred to me as I describe it, 
without my suspecting it as a dream, then a dream it might abso 
lutely have been, but, occurring as it did, and suspected and tested 
as it was, I am forced to class it among other phenomena." 

"In this I am not sure that you are wrong," observed Dr. 
Templeton, "but proceed. You arose and descended into the 
city." 

" I arose," continued Bedloe, regarding the Doctor with an air 



A TALE OF THE RAGGED MOUNTAINS, 363 

of profound astonishment, "I arose, as you say, and descended 
into the city. On my way, I fell in with an immense populace, 
crowding through every avenue, all in the same direction, and ex 
hibiting in every action the wildest excitement. Very suddenly, 
and by some inconceivable impulse, I became intensely imbued 
with personal interest in what was going on. I seemed to feel 
that I had an important part to play, without exactly understand 
ing what it was. Against the crowd which environed me, how 
ever, I experienced a deep sentiment of animosity. I shrank from 
amid them, and, swiftly, by a circuitous path, reached and entered 
the city. Here all was the wildest tumult and contention. A 
small party of men, clad in garments half Indian, half European, 
and officered by gentlemen in a uniform partly British, were en 
gaged, at great odds, with the swarming rabble of the alleys, I 
joined the weaker party, arming myself with the weapons of a 
fallen officer, and fighting I knew not whom with the nervous 
ferocity of despair. We were soon overpowered by numbers, and 
driven to seek refuge in a species of kiosk. Here we barricaded 
ourselves, and, for the present, were secure. From a loop-hole 
near the summit of the kiosk, I perceived a vast crowd, in furious 
agitation, surrounding and assaulting a gay palace that overhung 
the river. Presently, from an upper window of this palace, there 
descended an effeminate-looking person, by means of a string made 
of the turbans of his attendants. A boat was at hand, in which 
he escaped to the opposite bank of the river. 

"And now a new object took possession of my soul. I spoke a 
few hurried but energetic words to my companions, and, having 
succeeded in gaining over a few of them to my purpose, made a 
frantic sally from the kiosk. We rushed amid the crowd that 
surrounded it. They retreated, at first, before us. They rallied, 
fought madly, and retreated again. In the meantime we were 
borne far from the kiosk, and became bewildered and entangled 
among the narrow streets of tall overhanging houses, into the 
recesses of which the sun had never been able to shine. The rab 
ble pressed impetuously upon us, harassing us with their spears, 
and overwhelming us with flights of arrows. These latter were 
very remarkable, and resembled in some respects the writhing 
creese of the Malay. They were made to imitate the body of a 
creeping serpent, and were long and black, with a poisoned barb. 
One of them struck me upon the right temple. I reeled and fell. 



364 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

An instantaneous and dreadful sickness seized me. I struggled 
I gasped I died." 

" You will hardly persist now" said I, smiling, "that the whole 
of your adventure was not a dream. You are not prepared to 
maintain that you are dead ?" 

When I said these words, I of course expected some lively sally 
from Bedloe in reply; but, to my astonishment, he hesitated, 
trembled, became fearfully pallid, and remained silent. I looked 
towards Templeton. He sat erect and rigid in his chair his teeth 
chattered, and his eyes were starting from their sockets. " Pro 
ceed !" he at length said hoarsely to Bedloe. 

"For many minutes," continued the latter, " my sole sentiment 
-my sole feeling was that of darkness and nonentity, with the 
consciousness of death. At length, there seemed to pass a violent 
and sudden shock through my soul, as if of electricity. With it 
came the sense of elasticity and of light. This latter I felt not 
saw. In an instant I seemed to rise from the ground. But I had no 
bodily, no visible, audible, or palpable presence. The crowd had 
departed. The tumult had ceased. The city was in comparative 
repose. Beneath me lay my corpse, with the arrow in my temple, 
the whole head greatly swollen and disfigured. But all these 
things I felt not saw. I took interest in nothing. Even the 
corpse seemed a matter in which I had no concern. Volition I 
had none, but appeared to be impelled into motion, and flitted 
buoyantly out of the city, retracing the circuitous path by which 
I had entered it. When I had attained that point of the ravine 
in the mountains at which I had encountered the hyena, I again 
experienced a shock as of a galvanic battery ; the sense of weight, 
of volition, of substance, returned. I became my original self, and 
bent my steps eagerly homewards but the past had not lost the 
vividness of the real and not now, even for an instant, can I com 
pel my understanding to regard it as a dream." 

" Nor was it," said Templeton, with an air of deep solemnity, 
"yet it would be difficult to say how otherwise it should be 
termed. Let us suppose only, that the soul of the man of to-day 
is upon the verge of some stupendous psychal discoveries. Let us 
content ourselves with this supposition. For the rest I have some 
explanation to make. Here is a water-colour drawing, which I 
should have shown you before, but which an unaccountable senti 
ment of horror has hitherto prevented me from showing." 



A TALE OF THE RAGGED MOUNTAINS. 365 

We looked at the picture which he presented. I saw nothing 
in it of an extraordinary character; but its effect upon Bedloe was 
prodigious. He nearly fainted as he gazed. And yet it was but 
a miniature portrait a miraculously accurate one, to be sure of 
his own very remarkable features. At least this was my thought 
as I regarded it. 

" You will perceive," said Templeton, " the date of this picture 
it is here, scarcely visible, in this corner 1780. In this year 
was the portrait taken. It is the likeness of a dead friend a Mr. 
Oldeb to whom I became much attached at Calcutta, during the 
administration of Warren Hastings. I was then only twenty 
years old. When I first saw you, Mr. Bedloe, at Saratoga, it was 
the miraculous similarity which existed between yourself and the 
painting which induced me to accost you, to seek your friendship, 
and to bring about those arrangements which resulted in my 
becoming your constant companion. In accomplishing this point, 
I was urged partly, and perhaps principally, by a regretful 
memory of the deceased, but also, in part, by an uneasy, and not 
altogether horrorless curiosity respecting yourself. 

" In your detail of the vision which presented itself to you amid 
the hills, you have described, with the minutest accuracy, the 
Indian city of Benares, upon the Holy River. The riots, the com 
bats, the massacre, were the actual events of the insurrection of 
Cheyte Sing, which took place in 1780, when Hastings was put in 
imminent peril of his life. The man escaping by the string of 
turbans was Cheyte Sing himself. The party in the kiosk were 
sepoys and British officers, headed by Hastings. Of this party I 
was one, and did all I could to prevent the rash and fatal sally of 
the officer who fell, in the crowded alleys, by the poisoned arrow 
of a Bengalee. That officer was my dearest friend. It was Oldeb. 
You will perceive by these manuscripts," (here the speaker pro 
duced a note-book in which several pages appeared to have been 
freshly written) " that at the very period in which you fancied 
these things amid the hills, I was engaged in detailing them upon 
paper here at home." 

In about a week after this conversation, the following para 
graphs appeared in a Charlottesville paper : 

" We have the painful duty of announcing the death of Mr. 
AUGUSTUS BEDLO, a gentleman whose amiable manners and many 
virtues have long endeared him to the citizens of Charlottesville. 



366 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

"Mr. B., for some years past, has been subject to neuralgia, 
which has often threatened to terminate fatally; but this can be 
regarded only as the mediate cause of his decease. The proximate 
cause was one of especial singularity. In an excursion to the 
Kagged Mountains, a few days since, a slight cold and fever were 
contracted, attended with great determination of blood to the 
head. To relieve this, Dr. Templeton resorted to topical bleeding. 
Leeches were applied to the temples. In a fearfully brief period 
the patient died, when it appeared that in the jar containing the 
leeches had been introduced, by accident, one of the venomous 
vermicular sangsues which are now and then found in the neigh 
bouring ponds. This creature fastened itself upon a small artery 
in the right temple. Its close resemblance to the medicinal leech 
caused the mistake to be overlooked until too late. 

"N.B. The poisonous sangsue of Charlottesville may always 
be distinguished from the medicinal leech by its blackness, and 
especially by its writhing or vermicular motions, which very 
nearly resemble those of a snake." 

I was speaking with the editor of the paper in question, upon 
the topic of this remarkable accident, when it occurred to me to 
ask how it happened that the name of the deceased had been 
given as Bedlo. 

" I presume," said I, "you have authority for this spelling, but 
I have always supposed the name to be written with an e at the 
end." 

" Authority ? no," he replied. "It is a mere typographical 
error. The name is Bedloe with an e all the world over, and I 
never knew it to be spelt otherwise in my life." 

" Then," said I, mutteringly, as I turned upon my heel ; " then, 
indeed, has it come to pass that one truth is stranger than any fic 
tion for Bedlo without the e, what is it but Oldeb conversed ? 
And this man tells me it is a typographical error." 



KING PEST. 367 

KING PEST. 

A TALE CONTAINING AN ALLEGORY. 

"The gods do bear and well allow in kings 
The tilings which they abhor in rascal routes." 

Bucklmrsfs Tragedy of Ferrex and Porrex. 

BOUT twelve o clock one night in the month of October, 
and during the chivalrous reign of the third Edward, two 
seamen belonging to the crew of the " Free and Easy," a 
trading schooner plying between Sluys and the Thames, and then 
at anchor in that river, were much astonished to find themselves 
seated in the tap-room of an ale-house in the parish of St. An 
drews, London which ale-house bore for sign the portraiture of a 
"Jolly Tar." 

The room, although ill-contrived, smoke-blackened, low-pitched, 
and in every other respect agreeing with the general character of 
such places at the period was, nevertheless, in the opinion of the 
grotesque groups scattered here and there within it, sufficiently 
well adapted to its purpose. 

Of these groups our two seamen formed, I think, the most inte 
resting, if not the most conspicuous. 

The one who appeared to be the elder, and whom his companion 
addressed by the characteristic appellation of " Legs," was at the 
same time much the taller of the two. He might have measured 
six feet and a half, and an habitual stoop in the shoulders seemed 
to have been the necessary consequence of an altitude so enormous, 
Superfluities in height were, however, more than accounted for 
by deficiencies in other respects. He was exceedingly thin ; and 
might, as his associates asserted, have answered, when drunk, for 
a pennant at the mast-head, or, when sober, have served for a jib- 
boom. But these jests, and others of a similar nature, had evi 
dently produced, at no time, any effect upon the cachinnatory 
muscles of the tar. With high cheek-bones, a large hawk-nose, 
retreating chin, fallen under-jaw, and huge protruding white eyes, 
the expression of his countenance, although tinged with a species 
of dogged indifference to matters and things in general, was not 
the less utterly solemn and serious beyond all attempts at imita 
tion or description. 



368 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

The younger seaman was, in all outward appearance, the con 
verse of his companion. His stature could not have exceeded four 
feet. A pair of stumpy bow-legs supported his squat, unwieldy 
figure, while his unusually short and thick arms, with no ordinary 
fists at their extremities, swung off dangling from his sides like 
the fins of a sea-turtle. Small eyes, of no particular colour, twin 
kled far back in his head. His nose remained buried in the mass 
of flesh which enveloped his round, full, and purple face ; and his 
thick upper-lip rested upon the still thicker one beneath with an 
air of complacent self-satisfaction, much heightened by the owner s 
habit of licking them at intervals. He evidently regarded his tall 
shipmate with a feeling half-wondrous, half-quizzical ; and stared 
up occasionally in his face as the red setting sun stares up at the 
crags of Ben Nevis. 

Various and eventful, however, had been the peregrinations of 
the worthy couple in and about the different tap-houses of the 
neighbourhood during the earlier hours of the night. Funds, even 
the most ample, are not always everlasting : and it was with empty 
pockets our friends had ventured upon the present hostelrie. 

At the precise period, then, when this history properly com 
mences, Legs and his fellow, Hugh Tarpaulin, sat, each with both 
elbows resting upon the large oaken table in the middle of the floor, 
and with a hand upon either cheek. They were eyeing, from behind 
a huge flagon of unpaid-f or " hurnming-stuff," the portentous words, 
" No Chalk," which to their indignation and astonishment were 
scored over the doorway by means of that very mineral whose 
presence they purported to deny. Not that the gift of deciphering 
written characters a gift among the commonalty of that day con 
sidered little less cabalistical than the art of inditing could, in 
strict justice, have been laid to the charge of either disciple of the 
sea ; but there was, to say the truth, a certain twist in the forma 
tion of the letters and indescribable lee-lurch about the whole 
which forboded, in the opinion of both seamen, a long run of dirty 
weather; and determined them at once, in the allegorical words of 
Legs himself, to " pump ship, clew up all sail, and scud before the 
wind." 

Having accordingly disposed of what remained of the ale, and 
looped up the points of their short doublets, they finally made a, 
bolt for the street. Although Tarpaulin rolled twice into the fire 
place, mistaking it for the door* yet their escape was at length hap- 



KING PEST. 369 

pily effected and half -after twelve o clock found our heroes ripe 
for mischief, and running for life down a dark alley in the direction 
of St. Andrew s Stair, hotly pursued by the landlady of the " Jolly 
Tar." 

At the epoch of this eventful tale, and periodically, for many 
years before and after, all England, but more especially the metro 
polis, resounded with the fearful cry of " Plague !" The city was 
in a great measure depopulated and in those horrible regions, in 
the vicinity of the Thames, where amid the dark, narrow, and filthy 
lanes and alleys, the Demon of Disease was supposed to have had 
his nativity, Awe, Terror, and Superstition were alone to be found 
stalking abroad. 

By authority of the king such districts were placed under ban, 
and all persons forbidden, under pain of death, to intrude upon 
their dismal solitude. Yet neither the mandate of the monarch, 
nor the huge barriers erected at the entrances of the streets, nor the 
prospect of that loathsome death which, with almost absolute cer 
tainty, overwhelmed the wretch whom no peril could deter from the 
adventure, prevented the unfurnished and untenanted dwellings 
from being stripped, by the hand of nightly rapine, of every article, 
such as iron, brass, or lead-work, which could in any manner be 
turned to a profitable account. 

Above all, it was usually found, upon the annual winter opening 
of the barriers, that locks, bolts, and secret cellars, had proved but 
slender protection to those rich stores of wines and liquors which, 
in consideration of the risk and trouble of removal, many of the 
numerous dealers having shops in the neighbourhood, had con 
sented to trust, during the period of exile, to so insufficient a security. 

But there were very few of the terror-stricken people who attri 
buted these doings to the agency of human hands. Pest-spirits, 
plague-goblins, and fever-demons, were the popular imps of mis 
chief ; and tales so blood-chilling were hourly told, that the whole 
mass of forbidden buildings was, at length, enveloped in terror as 
in a shroud, and the plunderer himself was often scared away by the 
horrors his own depredations had created, leaving the entire vast 
circuit of prohibited district to gloom, silence, pestilence, and death. 

It was by one of the terrific barriers already mentioned, and 
which indicated the region beyond to be under the Pest-ban, that, 
iu scrambling down an alley, Legs and the worthy Hugh Tarpaulin 
found their progress suddenly impeded. To return was out of the 

24 



370 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

question, and no time was to be lost, as their pursuers were close 
upon their heels. With thorough-bred seamen to clamber up the 
roughly-fashioned plank-work was a trifle; and, maddened with 
the two-fold excitement of exercise and liquor, they leaped unhesi 
tatingly down within the enclosure, and holding on their drunken 
course with shouts and yellings, were soon bewildered in its noisome 
and intricate recesses. 

Had they not, indeed, been intoxicated beyond moral sense, their 
reeling footsteps must have been palsied by the horrors of their 
situation. The air was cold and misty. The paving-stones, loosened 
from their beds, lay in wild disorder amid the tall, rank grass, 
which sprang up around the feet and ankles. Fallen houses choked 
up the streets. The most fetid and poisonous smells everywhere 
prevailed; and by the aid of that ghastly light which, even at 
midnight, never fails to emanate from a vapoury and pestilential 
atmosphere, might be discerned lying in the by-paths and alleys, or 
rotting in the windowless habitations, the carcass of many a noc 
turnal plunderer arrested by the hand of the plague in the very 
perpetration of his robbery. 

But it Jay not in the power of images, or sensations, or impedi 
ments such as these, to stay the course of men who, naturally brave, 
and at that time especially, brim-full of courage and of " humming- 
stuff !" would have reeled, as straight as their condition might have 
permitted, undauntedly into the very jaws of death. Onward 
still onward stalked the grim Legs, making the desolate solemnity 
echo and re-echo with yells like the terrific war-whoop of the 
Indian: and onward, still onward rolled the dumpy Tarpaulin, 
hanging on to the doublet of his more active companion, and far 
surpassing the latter s most strenuous exertions in the way of vocal 
music, by bull-roarings in basso, from the profundity of his stento 
rian lungs. 

They had now evidently reached the stronghold of the pestilence- 
Their way at every step or plunge grew more noisome and more 
horrible the paths more narrow and more intricate. Huge stones 
and beams falling momently from the decaying roofs above them, 
gave evidence, by their sullen and heavy descent, of the vast height 
of the surrounding houses ; and while actual exertion became neces 
sary to force a passage through frequent heaps of rubbish, it was by 
no means seldom that the hand fell upon a skeleton, or rested upon 
a more fleshy corpse. 



KING PEST. 371 

Suddenly, as the seamen stumbled against the entrance of a tall 
and ghastly-looking building, a yell more than usually shrill from 
the throat of the excited Legs, was replied to from within, in a 
rapid succession of wild, laughter-like, and fiendish shrieks. 
Nothing daunted at sounds which, of such a nature, at such a time, 
and in such a place, might have curdled the very blood in hearts 
less irrevocably on fire, the drunken couple rushed headlong against 
the door, burst it open, and staggered into the midst of things with 
a volley of curses. 

The room within which they found themselves proved to be the 
shop of an undertaker ; but an open trap-door, in a corner of the 
floor near the entrance, looked down upon a long range of wine- 
cellars, whose depths the occasional sound of bursting bottles pro 
claimed to be well stored with their appropriate contents. In the 
middle of the room stood a table in the centre of which again 
arose a huge tub of what appeared to be punch. Bottles of various 
wines and cordials, together with jugs, pitchers, and flagons of 
every shape and quality, were scattered profusely upon the board. 
Around it, upon coffin tressels, were seated a company of six. This 
company I will endeavour to delineate one by one. 

Fronting the entrance, and elevated a little above his compan 
ions, sat a personage who appeared to be the president of the table. 
His stature was gaunt and tall, and Legs was confounded to behold 
in him a figure more emaciated than himself. His face was as 
yellow as saffron but no feature excepting one alone, was suffi 
ciently marked to merit a particular description. This one consisted 
in a forehead so unusually and hideously lofty, as to have the 
appearance of a bonnet or crown of flesh superadded upon the 
natural head. His mouth was puckered and dimpled into an ex 
pression of ghastly affability, and his eyes, as indeed the eyes of all 
at table, were glazed over with the fumes of intoxication. This 
gentleman was clothed from head to foot in a richly-embroidered 
black silk-velvet pall, wrapped negligently around his form after 
the fashion of a Spanish cloak. His head was stuck full of sable 
hearse-plumes, which he nodded to and fro with a jaunty and 
knowing air ; and, in his right hand, he held a huge human thigh 
bone, with which he appeared to have been just knocking down 
some member of the company for a song. 

Opposite him, and with her back to the door, was a lady of no 
whit the less extraordinary character. Although quite as tall as 

242 



372 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

the person just described, she had no right to complain of his un- 
natural emaciation. She was evidently in the last stage of a dropsy ; 
and her figure resembled nearly that of the huge puncheon of 
October beer which stood, with the head driven in, close by her 
side, in a corner of the chamber. Her face was exceedingly round, 
red, and full ; and the same peculiarity, or rather want of pecu 
liarity, attached itself to her countenance, which I before mentioned 
in the case of the president that is to say, only one feature of her 
face was sufficiently distinguished to need a separate character 
ization : indeed the acute Tarpaulin immediately observed that the 
same remark might have applied to each individual person of the 
party, every one of whom seemed to possess a monopoly of some 
particular portion of physiognomy. With the lady in question this 
portion proved to be the mouth. Commencing at the right ear, it 
swept with a terrific chasm to the left the short pendants which 
she wore in either auricle continually bobbing into the aperture. 
She made, however, every exertion to keep her mouth closed and 
look dignified, in a dress consisting of a newly-starched and ironed 
shroud coming up close under the chin, with a crimpled ruffle of 
cambric muslin. 

At her right hand sat a diminutive young lady whom she appeared 
to patronise. This delicate little creature, in the trembling of her 
wasted fingers, in the livid hue of her lips, and in the slight hectic 
spot which tinged her otherwise leaden complexion, gave evident 
indications of a galloping consumption. An air of extreme haut ton, 
however, pervaded her whole appearance ; she wore, in a graceful 
and degage manner, a large and beautiful winding-sheet of the finest 
Indian lawn ; her hair hung in ringlets over her neck ; a soft smile 
played about her mouth; but her nose, extremely long, thin, sinuous, 
flexible and pimpled, hung down far below her under lip, and in 
spite of the delicate manner in which she now and then moved it 
to one side or the other with her tongue, gave to her countenance a 
somewhat equivocal expression. 

Over against her, and upon the left of the dropsical lady, was seated 
a little puffy, wheezing, and gouty old man, whose cheeks reposed 
upon the shoulders of their owner, like two huge bladders of Oporto 
wine. With his arms folded, and with one bandaged leg deposited 
upon the table, he seemed to think himself entitled to some con 
sideration. He evidently prided himself much upon every inch of 
his personal appearance, but took more especial delight in calling 



KING PEST. 373 

attention to his gaudy-coloured sin-tout. This, to say the truth, 
.must have cost him no little money, and was made to fit him ex 
ceedingly well being fashioned from one of the curiously embroi 
dered silken covers appertaining to those glorious escutcheons which, 
in England and elsewhere, are customarily hung up, in some con 
spicuous place, upon the dwellings of departed aristocracy. 

Next to him, and at the right hand of the president, was a gentle 
man in long white hose and cotton drawers. His frame shook, in a 
ridiculous manner, with a fit of what Tarpaulin called "the horrors." 
His jaws, which had been newly shaved, were tightly tied up by a 
bandage of muslin ; and his arms being fastened in a similar way 
at the wrists, prevented him from helping himself too freely to the 
liquors upon the table ; a precaution rendered necessary in the 
opinion of Legs, by the peculiarly sottish and wine-bibbing cast of 
his visage. A pair of prodigious ears, nevertheless, which it was 
no doubt found impossible to confine, towered away into the atmo 
sphere of the apartment, and were occasionally pricked up in a 
spasm, at the sound of the drawing of a cork. 

Fronting him, sixthly and lastly, was situated a singularly stiff- 
looking personage, who, being afflicted with paralysis, must, to speak 
seriously, have felt very ill at ease in his unaccommodating habili 
ments. He was habited, somewhat uniquely, in a new and hand 
some mahogany coffin. Its top or head-piece pressed upon the skull 
of the wearer, and extended over it in the fashion of a hood, giving 
to the entire face an air of indescribable interest. Arm-holes had 
been cut in the sides, for the sake not more of elegance than of 
convenience ; but the dress, nevertheless, prevented its proprietor 
from sitting as erect as his associates ; and as he lay reclining 
against his tressel, at an angle of forty-five degrees, a pair of huge 
goggle-eyes rolled up their awful whites towards the ceiling in ab 
solute amazement at their own enormity. 

Before each of the party lay a portion of a skull which was used 
as a drinking cup. Overhead was suspended a human skeleton, by 
means of a rope tied round one of the legs and fastened to a ring 
in the ceiling. The other limb confined by no such fetter, stuck off 
from the body at right angles, causing the whole loose and rattling 
frame to dangle and twirl about at the caprice of every occasional 
puff of wind which found its way into the apartment. In the 
cranium of this hideous thing lay a quantity of ignited charcoal, 
which threw a fitful but vivid light over the entire scene ; while 



374 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

coffins, and other wares appertaining to the shop of an undertaker, 
were piled high up around the room, and against the windows, pre 
venting any ray from escaping into the street. 

At sight of this extraordinary assembly, and of their still more 
extraordinary paraphernalia, our two seamen did not conduct them 
selves with that degree of decorum which might have been expected. 
Legs, leaning against the wall near which he happened to be stand 
ing, dropped his lower jaw still lower than usual, and spread open 
his eyes to their fullest extent : while Hugh Tarpaulin, stooping- 
down so as to bring his nose upon a level with the table, and 
spreading out a palm upon either knee, burst into a long, loud, and 
obstreperous roar of very ill-timed and immoderate laughter. 

Without, however, taking offence at behaviour so excessively 
rude, the tall president smiled very graciously upon the intruders- 
nodded to them in a dignified manner with his head of sable plumes 
and, arising, took each by an arm, and led him to a seat which 
some others of the company had placed in the meantime for his 
accommodation. Legs to all this offered not the slightest resist 
ance, but sat down as he was directed ; while the gallant Hugh, 
removing his coffin tressel from its station near the head of the 
table, to the vicinity of the little consumptive lady in the winding 
sheet, plumped down by her side in high glee, and pouring out a 
skull of red wine, quaffed it to their better acquaintance. But at 
this presumption the stiff gentleman in the coffin seemed exceed 
ingly nettled; and serious consequences might have ensued, had not 
the president, rapping upon the table with his truncheon, diverted 
the attention of all present to the following speech : 

* It becomes our duty upon the present happy occasion " 

" Avast there !" interrupted Legs, looking very serious, " avast 
there a bit, I say, and tell us who the devil ye all are, and what 
business ye have here, rigged off like the foul fiends, and swilling 
the snug blue ruin stowed away for the winter by my honest ship 
mate, Will Wimble the undertaker !" 

At this unpardonable piece of ill-breeding, all the original com 
pany half started to their feet, and uttered the same rapid succession 
of wild fiendish shrieks which had before caught the attention of 
the seamen. The president, however, was the first to recover his 
composure, and at length, turning to Legs with great dignity, re 
commenced : 

" Most willingly will we gratify any reasonable curiosity on the 



KING PEST, 375 

part of guests so illustrious, unbidden though they be. Know then 
that in these dominions I am monarch, and here rule with undivided 
empire under the title of King Pest the First. 

" This apartment, which you no doubt profanely suppose to be 
the shop of Will Wimble the undertaker a man whom we know 
not, and whose plebeian appellation has never before this night 
thwarted our royal ears this apartment, I say, is the Dais-Chamber 
of our Palace, devoted to the councils of our kingdom, and to other 
sacred and lofty purposes. 

" The noble lady who sits opposite is Queen Pest, our Serene 
Consort. The other exalted personages whom you behold are all 
of our family, and wear the insignia of the blood royal under the 
respective titles of His Grace the Arch Duke Pest-If erous * His 
Grace the Duke Pestilential His Grace the Duke Tern-Pest 
and Her Serene Highness the Arch Duchess Ana- Pest/ 

" As regards," continued he, " your demand of the business upon 
which we sit here in council, we might be pardoned for replying 
that it concerns, and concerns alone, our own private and regal 
interest, and is in no manner important to any other than ourself. 
But in consideration of those rights to which as guests and stran 
gers you may feel yourselves entitled, we will furthermore explain 
that we are here this night, prepared by deep research and accurate 
investigation, to examine, analyze, and thoroughly determine the 
indefinable spirit the incomprehensible qualities and nature of 
those inestimable treasures of the palate, the wines, ales, and 
liqueurs of this goodly metropolis : by so doing to advance not 
more our own designs than the true welfare of that unearthly sove 
reign whose reign is over us all, whose dominions are unlimited, 
and whose name is Death. " 

" Whose name is Davy Jones !" ejaculated Tarpaulin, helping 
the lady by his side to a skull of liqueur, and pouring out a second 
for himself. 

" Profane varlet !" said the president, now turning his attention 
to the worthy Hugh, " profane and execrable wretch ! we have 
said, that in consideration of those rights which, even in thy filthy 
person, we feel no inclination to violate, we have condescended to 
make reply to thy rude and unseasonable inquiries. We neverthe 
less, for your unhallowed intrusion upon our councils, believe it our 
duty to mulct thee and thy companion in each a gallon of Black 
Strap having imbibed which to the prosperity of our kingdom 



376 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

at a single draught and upon your bended knees ye shall be 
forthwith free either to proceed upon your way, or remain and be 
admittted to the privileges of our table, according to your respective 
and individual pleasures." 

"It would be a matter of utter unpossibility," replied Legs, 
whom the assumptions and dignity of King Pest the First had 
evidently inspired with some feelings of respect, and who arose and 
steadied himself by the table as he spoke " it would, please your 
majesty, be a matter of utter unpossibility to stow away in my hold 
even one-fourth part of that same liquor which your majesty has 
just mentioned. To say nothing of the stuffs placed on board in the 
forenoon by way of ballast, and not to mention the various ales and 
liqueurs shipped this evening at various seaports, I have, at present, 
a full cargo of * humming stuff J taken in and duly paid for at the 
sign of the Jolly Tar. You will, therefore, please your majesty, be 
so good as to take the will for the deed for by no manner of means 
either can I or will I swallow another drop least of all a drop of 
that villanous bilge-water that answers to the hail of * Black Strap. " 

" Belay that !" interrupted Tarpaulin, astonished not more at the 
length of his companion s speech than at the nature of his refusal, 
" Belay that, you lubber ! and I say, Legs, none of your palaver ! 
My hull is still light, although I confess you yourself seem to be a 
little top-heavy ; and as for the matter of your share of the cargo, 
why rather than raise a squall I would find stowage-room for it 
myself, but " 

" This proceeding," interposed the president, " is by no means 
in accordance with the terms of the mulct or sentence, which is in 
its nature Median, and not to be altered or recalled. The condi 
tions we have imposed must be fulfilled to the letter, and that 
without a moment s hesitation in failure of which fulfilment we 
decree that you do here be tied neck and heels together, and duly 
drowned as rebels in yon hogshead of October beer !" 

"A sentence! a sentence! a righteous and just sentence! 
a glorious decree ! a most worthy and upright, and holy con 
demnation !" shouted the Pest family altogether. The king 
elevated his forehead into innumerable wrinkles ; the gouty little 
old man puffed like a pair of bellows ; the lady of the winding sheet 
waved her nose to and fro ; the gentleman in the cotton drawers 
pricked up his ears ; she of the shroud gasped like a dying fish \ 
and he of the coffin looked stiff and rolled v 



KING PEST. 



377 



"Ugh! ugh! ugh!" chuckled Tarpaulin, without heeding the 
general excitation, "ugh! ugh! ugh ! ugh ! ugh! ugh! ugh I 
ugh ! ugh ! ugh ! I was saying," said he, " I was saying when 
Mr. King Pest poked in his marlin-spike, that as for the matter of 
two or three gallons more or less of Black Strap, it was a trifle to 
a tight sea-boat like myself not overstowed but when it comes to 
drinking the health of the Devil (whom God assoilzie) and going 
down upon my marrow bones to his ill-favoured majesty there, 
whom I know, as well as I know myself to be a sinner, to be 
nobody in the whole world but Tim Hurlygurly the stage-player ! 
why ! its quite another guess sort of a thing, and utterly and 
altogether past my comprehension." 

He was not allowed to finish this speech in tranquillity. At 
the name of Tim Hurlygurly the whole assembly leaped from their 
seats. 

" Treason !" shouted his Majesty King Pest the First. 

"Treason !" said the little man with the gout. 

"Treason !" screamed the Arch Duchess Ana-Pest. 

" Treason !" muttered the gentleman with his jaws tied up. 

"Treason !" growled he of the coffin. 

"Treason! treason !" shrieked her majesty of the mouth ; and, 
seizing by the hinder part of his breeches the unfortunate Tarpaulin, 
who had just commenced pouring out for himself a skull of 
liqueur, she lifted him high into the air, and let him fall without 
ceremony into the huge open puncheon of his beloved ale. Bobbing 
up and down, for a few seconds, like an apple in a bowl of toddy, 
he, at length, finally disappeared, amid the whirlpool of foam which, 
in the already effervescent liquor, his struggles easily succeeded 
in creating. 

Not tamely, however, did the tall seaman behold the discomfi 
ture of his companion. Jostling King Pest through the open trap, 
the valiant Legs slammed the door down upon him with an oath, 
and strode towards the centre of the room. Here tearing down the 
skeleton which swung over the table, he laid it about him with so 
much energy and good will, that, as the last glimpses of light died 
away within the apartment, he succeeded in knocking out the 
brains of the little gentleman with the gout. Rushing then with 
all his force against the fatal hogshead, full of October ale and 
Hugh Tarpaulin, he rolled it over and over in an instant. Out 
burst a deluge of liquor so fierce so impetuous so overwhelming 



378 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

that the room was flooded from wall to wall the loaded table 
was overturned the tressels were thrown upon their backs the 
tub of punch into the fire-place and the ladies into hysterics. 
Piles of death-furniture floundered about. Jugs, pitchers, and 
carboys mingled promiscuously in the melee, and wicker flagons 
encountered desperately with bottles of junk. The man with the 
horrors was drowned upon the spot the little stiff gentleman 
floated off in his coffin and the victorious Legs, seizing by the 
waist the fat lady in the shroud, rushed out with her into the 
street, and made a bee-line for the "Free and Easy," followed 
under easy sail by the redoubtable Hugh Tarpaulin, who, having 
sneezed three or four times, panted and puffed after him with the 
.Arch-Duchess Ana-Pest, 



THE MAN OFTHE CROWD, 

"Ce grand malheur, de ne pouvoir etre seul." La Bruyfre. 

\T was well said of a certain German book that " er lasst 
sick nicht lesen "it does not permit itself to be read. 
There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to 
be told. Men die nightly in their beds, wringing the hands of 
ghostly confessors, and looking them piteously in the eyes die 
with despair of heart and convulsion of throat, on account of the 
hideousness of mysteries which will not suffer themselves to be 
revealed. Now and then, alas, the conscience of man takes up a 
burden so heavy in horror that it can be thrown down only into 
the grave. And thus the essence of all crime is undivulged. 
Not long ago, about the closing in of an evening in autumn, I 

sat at the large bow window of the D Coffee-House in London. 

For some months I had been ill in health, but was now conva 
lescent, and, with returning strength, found myself in one of those 
happy moods which are so precisely the converse of ennui moods 
of the keenest appetency, when the film from the mentai vision 
departs the ax\vg o s Trpn/ fTrqiv and the intellect, electrified, 
surpasses as greatly its every-day condition, as does the vivid yet 
candid reason of Leibnitz, the mad and flimsy rhetoric of Gorgias. 
Merely to breathe was enjoyment ; and I derived positive pleasure 
even from many of the legitimate sources of pain. I felt a calm 
but inquisitive interest in every thing. With a cigar in my mouth 



THE MAN" OF THE CROWD. 379 

and a newspaper in my lap, I had been amusing myself for the 
greater part of the afternoon, now in poring over advertisements, 
now in observing the promiscuous company in the room, and now 
in peering through the smoky panes into the street. 

This latter is one of the principal thoroughfares of the city, 
and had been very much crowded during the whole day. But, 
as the darkness came on, the throng momently increased ; and, by 
the time the lamps were well lighted, two dense and continuous 
tides of population were rushing past the door. At this particular 
period of the evening I had never before been in a similar situa 
tion, and the tumultuous sea of human heads filled me, therefore, 
with a delicious novelty of emotion. I gave up, at length, all care 
of things within the hotel, and became absorbed in contemplation 
of the scene without. 

At first my observations took an abstract and generalizing turn. 
I looked at the passengers in masses, and thought of them in 
their aggregate relations. Soon, however, I descended to details, 
and regarded with minute interest the innumerable varieties of 
figure, dress, air, gait, visage, and expression of countenance. 

By far the greater number of those who went by had a satisfied 
business-like demeanour, and seemed to be thinking only of 
making their way through the press, Their brows were knit, 
and their eyes rolled quickly ; when pushed against by fellow- 
wayfarers they evinced no symptom of impatience, but adjusted 
their clothes and hurried on. Others, still a numerous class, were 
restless in their movements, had flushed faces, and talked and 
gesticulated to themselves, as if feeling in solitude on account of 
the very denseness of the company around. When impeded in 
their progress, these people suddenly ceased muttering, but re 
doubled their gesticulations, and awaited, with an absent and 
overdone smile upon their lips, the course of the persons impeding 
them. If jostled, they bowed profusely to the j ostlers, and ap 
peared overwhelmed with confusion. There was nothing very 
distinctive about these two large classes beyond what I have noted. 
Their habiliments belonged to that order which is pointedly 
termed the decent. They were undoubtedly noblemen, merchants, 
attorneys, tradesmen, stock-j obbers the Eupatrids and the common 
places of society men of leisure and men actively engaged in 
affairs of their own conducting business upon their own responsi 
bility. They did not greatly excite my attention. 



380 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

The tribe of clerks was an obvious one ; and here I discerned 
two remarkable divisions. There were the junior clerks of flash 
houses young gentlemen with tight coats, bright boots, well-oiled 
hair, and supercilious lips. Setting aside a certain dapperness of 
carriage, which may be termed des/cism for want of a better word, 
the manner of these persons seemed to me an exact facsimile of 
what had been the perfection of bon ton about twelve or eighteen 
months before. They wore the cast-off graces of the gentry ; 
and this, I believe, involves the best definition of the class. 

The division of the upper clerks of staunch firms, or of the 
" steady old fellows," it was not possible to mistake. These were 
known by their coats and pantaloons of black or brown, made to 
sit comfortably, with white cravats and waistcoats, broad, solid- 
looking shoes, and thick hose or gaiters. They had all slightly 
bald heads, from which the right ears, long used to penholding, 
had an odd habit of standing off on end. I observed that they 
always removed or settled their hats with both hands, and wore 
watches, with short gold chains of a substantial and ancient 
pattern. Theirs was the affectation of respectability; if indeed 
there be an affectation so honourable. 

There were many individuals of dashing appearance, whom I 
easily understood as belonging to the race of swell pick-pockets, 
with which all great cities are infested. I watched these gentry 
with much inquisitiveness, and found it difficult to imagine how 
they should ever be mistaken for gentlemen by gentlemen them 
selves. Their voluminousness of wristband, with an air of ex 
cessive frankness, should betray them at once. 

The gamblers, of whom I descried not a few, were still more 
easily recognisable. They wore every variety of dress, from that 
of the desperate thimble-rig bully, with velvet waistcoat, fancy 
neckerchief, gilt chains, and filigreed buttons, to that of the 
scrupulously inornate clergyman, than which nothing could be 
less liable to suspicion. Still all were distinguished by a certain 
sodden swarthiness of complexion, a filmy dimness of eye, and 
pallor and compression of lip. There were two other traits, more 
over, by which I could always detect them ; a guarded lowness 
of tone in conversation, and a more than ordinary extension of the 
thumb in a direction at right angles with the fingers. Very often, 
in company with these sharpers, I observed an order of men some- 
\?hat different in habits, but still birds of a kindred feather. They 



THE MAN OF THE CROWD. 381 

inay be defined as the gentlemen who live by their wits. They 
seem to prey upon the public in two battalions that of the 
dandies and that of the military men. Of the first grade the lead 
ing features are long locks and smiles ; of the second frogged coats 
and frowns. 

Descending in the scale of what is termed gentility, I found 
darker and deeper themes for speculation. I saw Jew pedlars, 
with hawk eyes flashing from countenances whose every other 
feature wore only an expression of abject humility ; sturdy pro 
fessional street beggars scowling upon mendicants of a better 
stamp, whom despair alone had driven forth into the night for 
charity ; feeble and ghastly invalids, upon whom death had 
placed a sure hand, and who sidled and tottered through the 
mob, looking every one beseechingly in the face, as if in search 
of some chance consolation, some lost hope ; modest young girls 
returning from long and late labour to a cheerless home, and 
shrinking more tearfully than indignantly from the glances of 
ruffians, whose direct contact, even, could not be avoided ; women 
of the town of all kinds and of all ages the unequivocal beauty 
in the prime of her womanhood, putting one in mind of the statue 
in Lucian, with the surface of Parian marble, and the interior filled 
with filth the loathsome and utterly lost leper in rags the 
wrinkled, bejewelled and paint-begrimed beldame, making a last 
effort at youth the mere child of immature form, yet, from long 
association, an adept in the dreadful coquetries of her trade, and 
burning with a rabid ambition to be ranked the equal of her elders 
in vice ; drunkards innumerable and indescribable some in shreds 
and patches, reeling, inarticulate, with bruised visage and lack 
lustre eyes some in whole although filthy garments, with a 
slightly unsteady swagger, thick sensual lips, and hearty-looking 
rubicund faces others clothed in materials which had once been 
good, and which even now were scrupulously well brushed men 
who walked with a more than naturally firm and springy step, 
but whose countenances were fearfully pale, whose eyes hideously 
wild and red, and who clutched with quivering fingers, as they 
strode through the crowd, at every object which came within their 
reach ; beside these, pie-men, porters, coal-heavers, sweeps ; organ- 
grinders, monkey- exhibitors, and ballad-mongers, those who 
vended with those who sang ; ragged artizans and exhausted 
labourers of every description, and all full of a noisy and inordi- 



382 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

nate vivacity which jarred discordantly upon the ear, and gave an 
aching sensation to the eye. 

As the night deepened, so deepened to me the interest of the 
scene ; for not only did the general character of the crowd ma 
terially alter (its gentler features retiring in the gradual with 
drawal of the more orderly portion of the people, and its harsher 
ones coming out into bolder relief, as the late hour brought forth 
every species of infamy from its den), but the rays of the gas- 
lamps, feeble at first in their struggle with the dying day, had now 
at length gained ascendancy, and threw over everything a fitful 
and garish lustre. All was dark yet splendid as that ebony to 
which has been likened the style of Tertullian. 

The wild effects of the light enchained me to an examination of 
individual faces ; and although the rapidity with which the world 
of light flitted before the window, prevented me from casting more 
than a glance upon each visage, still it seemed that, in my then 
peculiar mental state, I could frequently read, even in that brief 
inter val of a glance, the history of long years. 

With my brow to the glass, I was thus occupied in scrutinizing 
the mob, when suddenly there came into view a countenance 
(that of a decrepid old man, some sixty-five or seventy years of 
age,) a countenance which at once arrested and absorbed my 
whole attention, on account of the absolute idiosyncrasy of its 
expression. Any thing even remotely resembling that expression 
I had never seen before. I well remember that my first thought, 
upon beholding it, was that Ketzch, had he viewed it, would have 
greatly preferred it to his own pictorial incarnations of the fiend. 
As I endeavoured, during the brief minute of my original survey, 
to form some analysis of the meaning conveyed, there arose con 
fusedly and paradoxically within my mind, the ideas of vast 
mental power of caution, of penuriousness, of avarice, of coolness, 
of malice, of blood-thirstiness, of triumph, of merriment, of ex 
cessive terror, of intense of supreme despair. I felt singularly 
aroused, startled, fascinated. " How wild a history," I said to 
myself, " is written within that bosom I" Then came a craving 
desire to keep the man in view to know more of him. Hurriedly 
putting on an overcoat, and seizing my hat and cane, I made my 
way into the street, and pushed through the crowd in the direction 
which I had seen him take ; for he had already disappeared. 
With some little difficulty I at length came within sight of him, 



THE MAN OF THE CROWD. 383 

approached, and followed him closely, yet cautiously, so as not to 
attract his attention. 

I had now a good opportunity of examining his person. He was 
short in stature, very thin, and apparently very feeble* His clothes, 
generally, were filthy and ragged ; but as he came, now and then, 
within the strong glare of a lamp, I perceived that his linen, 
although dirty, was of beautiful texture ; and my vision deceived 
me, or, through a rent in a closely-buttoned and evidently second- 
handed roquelaire which enveloped him, I caught a glimpse both 
of a diamond and of a dagger. These observations heightened my 
curiosity, and I resolved to follow the stranger whithersoever he 
should go. 

It was now fully night-fall, and a thick humid fog hung over the 
city, soon ending in a settled and heavy rain. This change of 
weather had an odd effect upon the crowd, the whole of which was 
at once put into new commotion, and overshadowed by a world of 
umbrellas. The waver the jostle, and the hum increased in a ten 
fold degree. For my own part I did not much regard the rain 
the lurking of an old fever in my system rendering the moisture 
somewhat too dangerously pleasant. Tying a handkerchief about 
my mouth, I kept on. For half an hour the old man held his way 
with difficulty along the great thoroughfare ; and I here walked 
close at his elbow through fear of losing sight of him. Never once 
turning his head to look back, he did not observe me. By and by 
he passed into a cross street, which, although densely filled with 
people, was riot quite so much thronged as the main one he had 
quitted. Here a change in his demeanour became evident. He 
walked more slowly, and with less object than before more hesi 
tatingly. He crossed and re-crossed the way repeatedly without 
apparent aim ; and the press was still so thick, that, at every such 
movement, I was obliged to follow him closely. The street was a 
narrow and long one, and his course lay within it for nearly an 
hour, during which the passengers had gradually diminished to 
about that number which is ordinarily seen at noon in Broadway 
near the park so vast a difference is there between a London 
populace and that of the most frequented American city. A second 
turn brought us into a square, brilliantly lighted, and overflowing 
with life. The old manner of the stranger re-appeared. His chin 
fell upon his breast, while his eyes rolled wildly from under his 
knit brows, in every direction, upon those who hemmed him in. 



384 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

He urged his way steadily and perseveringly. I was surprised, 
however, to find, upon his having made the circuit of the square, 
that he turned and retraced his steps. Still more was I astonished 
to see him repeat the same walk several times once nearly detect 
ing me as he came round with a sudden movement. 

In this exercise he spent another hour, at the end of which we 
met with far less interruption from passengers than at first. The 
rain fell fast ; the air grew cool ; and the people were retiring to 
their homes. With a gesture of impatience, the wanderer passed 
into a by-street comparatively deserted. Down this, some quarter 
of a mile long, he rushed with an activity I could not have dreamed 
of seeing in one so aged, and which put me to much trouble in pur 
suit. A few minutes brought us to a large and busy bazaar, with 
the localities of which the stranger appeared well acquainted, and 
where his original demeanour again became apparent, as he forced 
his way to and fro, without aim, among the host of buyers and 
sellers. 

During the hour and a half, or thereabouts, which we passed in 
this place, it required much caution on my part to keep him within 
reach without attracting his observation. Luckily I wore a pair of 
caoutchouc over-shoes, and could move about in perfect silence. 
At no moment did he see that I watched him. He entered shop 
after shop, priced nothing, spoke no word, and looked at all objects 
with a wild and vacant stare. I. was now utterly amazed at his 
behaviour, and firmly resolved that we should not part until I had 
satisfied myself in some measure respecting him. 

A loud-toned clock struck eleven, and the company were fast 
deserting the bazaar. A shop-keeper, in putting up a shutter, 
jostled the old man, and at the instant I saw a strong shudder come 
over his frame. He hurried into the street, looked anxiously around 
him for an instant, and then ran with incredible swiftness through 
many crooked and peopleless lanes, until we emerged once more 
upon the great thoroughfare whence we had started the street of 

the D Hotel. It no longer wore, however, the same aspect. It 

was still brilliant with gas ; but the rain fell fiercely, and there 
were few persons to be seen. The stranger grew pale. He walked 
moodily some paces up the once populous avenue, then, with a 
heavy sigh, turned in the direction of the river, and, plunging 
through a great variety of devious ways, came out, at length, in 
view of one of the principal theatres. It was about being closed, 



THE MAN OF THE CROWD. 385 

and the audience were thronging from the doors. I saw the old 
man gasp as if for breath while he threw himself amid the crowd ; 
but I thought that the intense agony of his countenance had in 
some measure abated. His head again fell upon his breast ; he 
appeared as I had seen him at first. I observed that he now took 
the course in which had gone the greater number of the audience ; 
but, upon the whole, I was at a loss to comprehend the wayward 
ness of his actions. 

As he proceeded, the company grew more scattered, and his old 
uneasiness and vacillation were resumed. For some time he fol 
lowed closely a party of some ten or twelve roisterers ; but from 
this number one by one dropped off, until three only remained 
together, in a narrow and gloomy lane little frequented. The 
stranger paused, and, for a moment, seemed lost in thought ; then, 
with every mark of agitation, pursued rapidly a route which 
brought us to the verge of the city, amid regions -very different 
from those we had hitherto traversed. It was the most noisome 
quarter of London, where everything wore the worst impress of the 
most deplorable poverty, and of the most desperate crime. By the 
dim light of an accidental lamp, tall, antique, worm-eaten, wooden 
tenements were seen tottering to their fall, in directions so many 
and capricious, that scarce the semblance of a passage was discern 
ible between them. The paving-stones lay at random, displaced 
from their beds by the rankly-growing grass. Horrible filth festered 
in the dammed-up gutters. The whole atmosphere teemed with 
desolation. Yet, as we proceeded, the sounds of human life revived 
by sure degrees, and at length large bands of the most abandoned 
of a London populace were seen reeling to and fro. The spirits of 
the old man again flickered up, as a lamp which is near its death- 
hour. Once more he strode onward with elastic tread. Suddenly 
a corner was turned, a blaze of light burst upon our sight, and we 
stood before one of the huge suburban temples of Intemperance 
one of the palaces of the fiend, Gin. 

It was now nearly day-break ; but a number of wretched inebri 
ates still pressed in and out of the flaunting entrance. With a half 
shriek of joy the old man forced a passage within, resumed at once 
his original bearing, and stalked backward and forward, without 
apparent object, among the throng. He had not been thus long 
occupied, however, before a rush to the doors gave token that the 
host was closing them for the night. It was something even more 



?36 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

intense than despair that I then observed upon the countenance of 
the singular being whom I had watched so pertinaciously. Yet he 
did not hesitate in his career, but, with a mad energy, retraced his 
steps at once, to the heart of the mighty London. Long and swiftly 
he fled, while I followed him in the wildest amazement, resolute 
not to abandon a scrutiny in which I now felt an interest nil- 
absorbing. The sun arose while we proceeded, and, when we had 
once again reached that most thronged mart of the populous town, 

the street of the D Hotel, it presented an appearance of human 

bustle and activity scarcely inferior to what I had seen on the 
evening before. And here, long, amid the momently increasing 
confusion, did I persist in my pursuit of the stranger. But, as 
usual, he walked to and fro, and during the day did not pass from 
out the turmoil of that street. And, as the shades of the second 
evening came on, I grew wearied unto death, and, stopping fully 
in front of the wanderer, gazed at him steadfastly in the face. He 
noticed me not, but resumed his solemn walk, while I, ceasing to 
follow, remained absorbed in contemplation. " This old man," I 
said at length, " is the type and the genius of deep crime. He 
refuses to be alone. He is the man of the crowd. It will be in vain 
to follow ; for I shall learn no more of him, nor of. his deeds. The 
worst heart of the world is a grosser book than thellortalusAnimce;* 
and perhaps it is but one of the great mercies of God that * er lasst 
sich nicht lesen? " 



"THOU ART THE MAN," 

WILL now play the CEdipus to the Eattleborough enigma. 
I will expound to you as I alone can the secret of the 
enginery that effected the Eattleborough miracle the 
one, the true, the admitted, the undisputed, the indisputable 
miracle, which put a definite end to infidelity among the Rattle- 
burghers, and converted to the orthodoxy of the grandames all the 
carnal-minded who had ventured to be sceptical before. 

This event which I should be sorry to discuss in a tone of 
unsuitable levity occurred in the summer of 18 . Mr. Barnabas 
Shuttleworthy one of the wealthiest and most respectable citizens 

* The " Hortidus Anima cum Oratiunculls Aliqiubus Supcradditis" of 
Grunninger. 



" THOU ART THE MAN." 387 

of the borough had been missing for several days under circum 
stances which gave rise to suspicion of foul play. Mr. Shuttle- 
worthy had set out from Rattleborough very early one Saturday 
morning, on horseback, with the avowed intention of proceeding 

to the city of , about fifteen miles distant, and of returning 

the night of the same day. Two hours after his departure, how 
ever, his horse returned without him, and without the saddle-bags 
which had been strapped on his back at starting. The animal was 
wounded, too, and covered with mud. These circumstances 
naturally gave rise to much alarm among the friends of the missing 
man ; and when it was found, on Sunday morning, that he had not 
yet made his appearance, the whole borough arose en masse to go 
and look for his body. 

The foremost and most energetic in instituting this search, was 
the bosom friend of Mr. Shuttleworthy a Mr. Charles Goodfellow, 
or, as he was universally called, " Charley Goodfellow," or " Old 
Charley Goodfellow." Now, whether it is a marvellous coincidence, 
or whether it is that the name itself has an imperceptible effect 
upon the character, I have never yet been able to ascertain ; but 
the fact is unquestionable, that there never yet was any person 
named Charles who was not an open, manly, honest, good-natured, 
and frank-hearted fellow, with a rich, clear voice, that did you 
good to hear it, and an eye that looked you always straight in the 
face, as much as to say, " I have a clear conscience myself ; am 
afraid of no man, and am altogether above doing a mean action." 
And thus all the hearty, careless, "walking gentlemen" of the 
stage are very certain to be called Charles. 

Now, "Old Charley Goodfellow, although he had been in 
Battleborough not longer than six months or thereabouts, and 
although nobody knew anything about him before he came to settle 
in the neighbourhood, had experienced no difficulty in the world 
in making the acquaintance of all the respectable people in the 
borough. Not a man of them but would have taken his bare word 
for a thousand at any moment ; and as for the women, there is no 
saying what they would not have done to oblige him. And all 
this came of his having been christened Charles, and of his pos 
sessing, in consequence, that ingenuous face which is proverbially 
the very " best letter of recommendation." 

I have already said that Mr. Shuttleworthy was one of the most 
respectable, and undoubtedly he was the most wealthy, man in 



3S8 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOIL. 

RattleborotLgh, while "Old Charley Goodfellow" was upon as 
intimate terms with him as if he had been his own brother. The 
two old gentlemen were next-door neighbours, and although Mr. 
Shuttleworthy seldom, if ever, visited " Old Charley," and never 
was known to take a meal in his house, still this did not prevent 
the two friends from being exceedingly intimate, as I have just 
observed ; for " Old Charley " never let a day pass without stepping 
in three or four times to see how his neighbour came on, and very 
often he would stay to breakfast or tea, and almost always to dinner; 
and then the amount of wine that was made way with by the two 
cronies at a sitting, it would really be a difficult thing to ascertain. 
Old Charley s favourite beverage was Chateau Margaux, and it 
appeared to do Mr. Shuttleworthy s heart good to see the old fellow 
swallow it, as he did, quart after quart ; so that, one day, when 
the wine was in, and the wit, as a natural consequence, somewhat 
out, he said to his crony, as he slapped him upon the back "I tell 
you what it is, Old Charley, you are, by all odds, the heartiest old 
fellow I ever came across in all my born days ; and since you love 
to guzzle the wine at that fashion, I ll be darned if I don t have to 
make thee a present of a big box of the Chateau Margaux. Od rot 
me/ (Mr. Shuttleworthy had a sad habit of swearing, although 
he seldom went beyond " Od rot me," or " By gosh," or " By the 
jolly golly,") " Od rot me," says he, " if I don t send an order to 
town this very afternoon for a double box of the best that can be 
got, and I ll make ye a present of it, I will ! ye needn t say a 
word now I will, I tell ye, and there s an end of it ; so look out 
for it it will come to hand some of these fine days, precisely when 
ye are looking for it the least !" I mention this little bit of liberality 
on the part of Mr. Shuttleworthy, just byway of showing you how 
very intimate an understanding existed between the two friends. 

Well, on the Sunday morning in question, when it came to bo 
fairly understood that Mr. Shuttleworthy had met with foul play, 
I never saw any one so profoundly affected as " Old Charley Good- 
fellow." When he first heard that the horse had come home without 
his master, and without his master s sadcile-bags, and all bloody 
from a pistol-shot, that had gone clean through and through the 
poor animal s chest without quite killing him when he heard all 
this, he turned as pale as if the missing man ht.d been his own dear 
brother or father, and shivered and shook all over as if he had had 
a fit of the ague, 



" THOU ART THE MAN." 39 

At first, he was too much overpowered with grief to be able to 
do anything at all, or to decide upon any plan of action ; so that 
for a long time he endeavoured to dissuade Mr. Shuttleworthy s 
other friends from making a stir about the matter, thinking it best to 
wait awhile say for a week or two, or a month or two to see if 
something wouldn t turn up, or if Mr. Shuttleworthy wouldn t 
come in the natural way, and explain his reasons for sending his 
horse on before. I dare say you have often observed this dispo 
sition to temporize, or to procrastinate, in people who -are labouring 
under any very poignant sorrow. Their powers of mind seem to 
be rendered torpid, so that they have a horror of anything like 
action, and like nothing in the world so well as to lie quietly in 
bed and " nurse their grief," as the old ladies express it that is 
to say, ruminate over their trouble. 

The people of Rattleborongh had, indeed, so high an opinion of 
the wisdom and discretion of " Old Charley," that the greater part 
of them felt disposed to agree with him, and not make a stir in 
the business " until something should turn up," as the honest old 
gentleman worded it ; and I believe that, after all, this would have 
been the general determination, but for the very suspicious inter 
ference of Mr. Shuttleworthy s nephew, a young man of very dissi 
pated habits, and otherwise of rather bad character. This nephew, 
whose name was Pennifeather, would listen to nothing like reason, 
in the matter of " lying quiet," but insisted upon making imme 
diate search for the " corpse of the murdered man." This was the 
expression he employed ; and Mr. Goodfellow acutely remarked at 
the time, that it was "a singular expression, to say no more." 
This remark of Old Charley s, too, had great effect upon the crowd ; 
and one of the party was heard to ask, very impressively, " how it 
happened that young Mr. Pennifeather was so intimately cognizant 
of all the circumstances connected with his wealthy uncle s disap 
pearance, as to feel authorized to assert, distinctly and unequivo 
cally, that his uncle ivas a murdered man. " Hereupon some 
little squibbing and bickering occurred among various members of 
the crowd, and especially between " Old Charley " and Mr. Penni 
feather although this latter occurrence was, indeed, by no means 
a novelty, for little good will had subsisted between the parties 
for the last three or four months ; and matters had even gone so 
far, that Mr. Pennifeather had actually knocked down his uncle s 
friend for some alleged excess of liberty that the latter had taken 



390 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

in the uncle s house, of which the nephew was an inmate. Upon 
this occasion, " Old Charley" is said to have behaved with exemplary 
moderation and Christian charity. He arose from the blow, adjusted 
his clothes, and made no attempt at retaliation at all merely 
muttering a few words about " taking summary vengeance at the 
first convenient opportunity," a natural and very justifiable ebul 
lition of anger, which meant nothing, however, and, beyond doubt, 
was no sooner given vent to than forgotten. 

However these matters may be, (which have no reference to the 
point now at issue,) it is quite certain that the people of Rattle- 
borough, principally through the persuasion of Mr. Pennifeather, 
came at length to the determination of dispersing over the adjacent 
country in search of the missing Mr. Shuttleworthy. I say they 
came to this determination in the first instance. After it had been 
fully resolved that a search should be made, it was considered 
almost a matter of course that the seekers should disperse that 
is to say, distribute themselves in parties for the more thorough 
examination of the region round about. I forget, however, by what 
ingenious train of reasoning it was that " Old Charley " finally 
convinced the assembly that this was the most injudicious plan 
that could be pursued. Convince them, however, he did all except 
Mr. Pennifeather ; and, in the end, it was arranged that a search 
should be instituted, carefully and very thoroughly, by the burghers 
en masse, " Old Charley " himself leading the way. 

As for the matter of that, there could have been no better pioneer 
than " Old Charley," whom everybody knew to have the eye of a 
lynx ; but, although he led them into all manner of out-of-the- 
way-holes and corners, by routes that noboiy had ever suspected 
of existing in the neighbourhood, and although the search was in 
cessantly kept up day and night for nearly a \veek, still no trace of 
Mr. Shuttleworthy could be discovered. When I say no trace, 
however, I must not be understood to speak literally ; for trace, 
to some extent, there certainly was. The poor gentleman had been 
tracked, by his horse s shoes, (which were peculiar,) to a spot about 
three miles to the east of the borough, on the main road leading 
to the city. Here the track made off into a by-path through a 
piece of woodland the path coming out again into the main road, 
and cutting off about half a mile of the regular distance. Following 
the shoe-marks down this lane, the party came at length to a pool 
of stagnant water, half hidden by the brambles to the right of the 



" 77/0^ ART THE MAN." 391 

lane, and opposite this pool all vestige of the track was lost sight of. 
It appeared, however, that a struggle of some nature had here taken 
place, and it seemed as if some large and heavy body, much larger 
and heavier than a man, had been drawn from theby-path tothepool. 
This latter was carefully dragged twice, but nothing was found ; 
and the party were upon the point of going away, in despair of 
coming to any result, when Providence suggested to Mr, Goodfellow 
the expediency of draining the water off altogether. This project 
was received with cheers, and many high compliments to " Old 
Charley" upon his sagacity and Consideration. As many of the 
burghers had brought spades with them, supposing that they might 
possibly be called upon to disinter a corpse, the drain was easily 
and speedily effected ; and no sooner was the bottom visible, than 
right in the middle of the mud that remained \vas discovered a 
black silk velvet waistcoat, which nearly every one present imme 
diately recognised as the property of Mr. Pennifeather. This 
waistcoat was much torn and stained with blood, and there were 
several persons among the party who had a distinct remembrance 
of its having been worn by its owner on the very morning of Mr. 
Shuttleworthy s departure for the city ; while there were others, 
again, ready to testify upon oath, if required, that Mr. P. did not 
wear the garment in question at any period during the remainder 
of that memorable day ; nor could any one be found to say that 
he had seen it upon Mr. P. s person at any period at all subse 
quent to Mr. Shuttleworthy s disappearance. 

Matters now wore a very serious aspect for Mr. Pennifeather, and 
jt was observed, as an indubitable confirmation of the suspicions 
which were excited against him, that he grew exceedingly pale, and 
when asked what he had to say for himself, was utterly incapable 
of saying a word. Hereupon, the few friends his riotous mode of 
living had left him deserted him at once to a man, and were even 
more clamorous than his ancient and avowed enemies for his in 
stantaneous arrest. But, on the other hand, the magnanimity of Mr. 
Goodfellow shone forth with only the more brilliant lustre through 
contrast. He made a warm and intensely eloquent defence of Mr. 
Pennifeather, in which he alluded more than once to his own sincere 
forgiveness oi that wild young gentleman "the heir of the worthy- 
Mr. Goodfeliow," for the insult which he (the young gentleman) 
had, no doubt in the hc;at of passion, thought proper to put upon 
him (ivir. Goodfellow;, " .tie forgave him for it," he said, " from 



39 2 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

the very bottom of his heart ; and for himself (Mr. Goodfellow), so 
far from pushing the suspicious circumstances to extremity, which 
he was sorry to say, really had arisen against Mr. Pennifeather, he 
(Mr. Goodfellow) would make every exertion in his power, would 
employ all the little eloquence in his possession to to to soften 
down, as much as he could conscientiously do so, the worst features 
of this really exceedingly perplexing piece of business." 

Mr. Goodfellow went on for some half hour longer in this strain, 
very much to the credit both of his head and of his heart; but your 
warm-hearted people are seldom apposite in their observations 
they run into all sorts of blunders, contretemps and mal bpropos- 
ismSj in the hot-headedness of their zeal to serve a friend thus, 
often with the kindest intentions in the world, doing infinitely more 
to prejudice his cause than to advance it. 

So, in the present instance, it turned out with all the eloquence of 
* Old Charley;" for, although he laboured earnestly in behalf of the 
suspected, yet it so happened, somehow or other, that every syllable 
he uttered of which the direct but unwitting tendency was not to 
exalt the speaker in the good opinion of his audience, had the effect 
of deepening the suspicion already attached to the individual whose 
cause he pleaded, and of arousing against him the fury of the mob. 

One of the most unaccountable errors committed by the orator 
was his allusion to the suspected as " the heir of the worthy old 
gentleman, Mr. Goodfellow." The people had really never thought 
of this before. They had only remembered certain threats of dis 
inheritance uttered a year or two previously by the uncle (who had 
no living relative except the nephew), and they had, therefore, 
always looked upon this disinheritance as a matter that was settled 
so single-minded a race of beings were the Eattleburghers ; but 
the remark of " Old Charley" brought them at once to a considera 
tion of this point, and thus gave them to see the possibility of the 
threats having been nothing more than a threat. And straightway, 
hereupon, arose the natural question of cui lono ? a question that 
tended even more than the waistcoat to fasten the terrible crime 
upon the young man. And here, lest I be misunderstood, permit 
me to digress for one moment merely to observe that the exceed 
ingly brief and simple Latin phrase which I have employed, is 
invariably mistranslated and misconceived. " Cui bono," in all the 
crack novels and elsewhere, in those of Mrs. Gore, for example, 
(the author of " Cecil,") a lady who quotes all tongues from the 



1 THO U ART THE MAN. 393 

Chaldsean to Cliickasaw, and is helped to her learning, "as 
needed," upon a systematic plan, by Mr. Beckford, in all the crack 
novels, I say, from those of Bulwer and Dickens to those of Turn- 
apenny and Ainsworth, the two little Latin words cui bono are 
rendered " to what purpose," or (as if quo bono), " to what good." 
Their true meaning, nevertheless, is " for whose advantage." Cui, 
to whom ; bono, is it for a benefit. It is a purely legal phrase, and 
applicable precisely in cases such as we have now under considera 
tion, where the probability of the doer of a deed hinges upon the 
probability of the benefit accruing to this individual or to that from 
the deed s accomplishment. Now, in the present instance, the ques 
tion cui bono very pointedly implicated Mr. Pennifeather. His 
uncle had threatened him, after making a will in his favour, with 
disinheritance. But the threat had not been actually kept ; the 
original will, it appeared, had not been altered. Had it been 
altered, the only supposable motive for murder on the part of the 
suspected would have been the ordinary one of revenge ; and even 
this would have been counteracted by the hope of reinstation 
into the good graces of the uncle. But the will, being unaltered, 
while the threat to alter remained suspended over the nephew s 
head, there appears at once the very strongest possible inducement 
for the atrocity : and so concluded, very sagaciously, the worthy 
itizens of the borough of Battle. 

Mr. Pennifeather was, accordingly, arrested upon the spot, and 
the crowd, after some further search, proceeded homewards, having 
him in custody. On the route, however, another circumstance 
occurred tending to confirm the suspicion entertained. Mr. Good- 
fellow, whose zeal led him to be always a little in advance of the 
party, was seen suddenly to run forward a few paces, stoop, and 
then apparently to pick up some small object from the grass. 
Having quickly examined it, he was observed, too, to make a sort 
of half attempt at concealing it in his coat pocket ; but this action 
was noticed, as I say, and consequently prevented, when the object 
picked up was found to be a Spanish knife which a dozen persons 
at once recognized as belonging to Mr. Pennifeather Moreover, 
his initials were engraved upon the handle. The blade of this 
knife was open and bloody. 

No doubt now remained of the guilt of the nephew, and imme 
diately upon reaching Pvattleborough he was taken before a magis 
trate for examination. 



394 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

Here matters again took a most unfavourable turn. The prisoner, 
being questioned as to his whereabouts on the morning of Mr. 
Shuttleworthy s disappearance, had absolutely the audacity to ac 
knowledge that on that very morning he had been out with his rifle 
deer-stalking, in the immediate neighbourhood of the pool where 
the blood-stained waistcoat had been discovered through the saga 
city of Mr. Goodfellow. 

This latter now came forward, and, with tears in his eyes, asked 
permission to be examined. He said that a stern sense of the duty 
he owed his Maker, not less than his fellow-men, would permit him 
no longer to remain silent. Hitherto, the sincerest affection for the 
young man (notwithstanding the latter s ill treatment of himself, 
Mr. Goodfellow) had induced him to make every hypothesis which 
imagination could suggest, by way of endeavouring to account for 
what appeared suspicious in the circumstances that told so seriously 
against Mr. Pennifeather ; but these circumstances were now alto 
gether too convincing too damning ; he would hesitate no longer 
he would tell all he knew, although his heart (Mr. Goodfellow s) 
should absolutely burst asunder in the effort. He then went on to 
state that, on the afternoon of the day previous to Mr. Shuttle- 
worthy s departure for the city, that worthy old gentleman had 
mentioned to his nephew, in his hearing (Mr. Goodfellow s), that 
his object in going to town on the morrow was to make a deposit 
of an unusually large sum of money in the " Farmers and Mechanics 
Bank," and that then and there the said Mr. Shuttleworthy had 
distinctly avowed to the said nephew his irrevocable determination 
of rescinding the will originally made, and of cutting him off with a 
shilling. He (the witness) now solemnly called upon the accused 
to state whether what he (the witness) had just stated was or was 
not the truth in every substantial particular. Much to the astonish 
ment of everyone present, Mr. Pennifeather frankly admitted that 
it was. 

The magistrate now considered it his duty to send a couple of 
constables to search the chamber of the accused in the house of his 
uncle. From this search they almost immediately returned with 
the well-known steel-bound russet leather pocket-book which the 
old gentleman had been in the habit of carrying for years. Its 
valuable contents, however, had been abstracted, and the magis 
trate in vain endeavoured to extort from the prisoner the use which 
had been made of them, or the place of their concealment. Indeed, 



" THOU ART THE MAN." 395 

he obstinately denied all knowledge of the matter. The constables, 
also, discovered, between the bed and sacking of the unhappy man, 
a shirt and neck-handkerchief both marked with the initials of his 
name, and both hideously besmeared with the blood of the victim. 

At this juncture it was announced that the horse of the mur 
dered man had just expired in the stable from the effects of the 
wound he had received, and it was proposed by Mr. Goodfellow 
that a post-mortem examination of the beast should be immediately 
made, with the view, if possible, of discovering the ball. This was 
accordingly done ; and, as if to demonstrate beyond a question the 
guilt of the accused, Mr. Goodfellow, after considerable searching 
in the cavity of the chest, was enabled to detect and to pull forth 
a bullet of very extraordinary size, which, upon trial, was found to 
be exactly adapted to the bore of Mr. Pennifeather s rifle, while it 
was far too large for that of any other person in the borough or its 
vicinity. To render the matter even surer yet, however, this bullet 
was discovered to have a flaw or seam at right angles to the usual 
suture ; and upon examination, this seam corresponded precisely 
with an accidental ridge or elevation in a pair of moulds acknow 
ledged by the accused himself to be his own property. Upon the 
finding of this bullet, the examining magistrate refused to listen to 
any further testimony, and immediately committed the prisoner for 
trial, declining resolutely to take any bail in the case, although 
against this severity Mr. Goodfellow very warmly remonstrated, 
and offered to become surety in whatever amount might be required. 
This generosity on the part of " Old Charley" was only in accord 
ance with the whole tenour of his amiable and chivalrous conduct 
during the entire period of his sojourn in the borough of Rattle. 
In the present instance, the worthy man was so entirely carried 
away by the excessive warmth of his sympathy, that he seemed to 
have quite forgotten, when he offered to go bail for his young friend, 
that he himself (Mr. Goodfellow) did not possess a single dollar s 
worth of property upon the face of the earth. 

The result of the committal may be readily foreseen. Mr. Pen- 
nifeather, amid the loud execrations of all Ptattleborough, was 
brought to a trial at the next criminal sessions, when the chain of 
circumstantial evidence (strengthened as it was by some additional 
damning facts, which Mr. Goodfellow s sensitive conscientiousness 
forbade him to withhold from the court,) was considered so un 
broken and so thoroughly conclusive, that the jury, without leaving 



396 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

their seats, returned an immediate verdict of " Guilty of murder in 
the first degree" Soon afterwards the unhappy wretch received 
sentence of death, and was remanded to the county jail to await 
the inexorable vengeance of the law. 

In the meantime the noble behaviour of " Old Charley Goodfel 
low" had doubly endeared him to the honest citizens of the borough. 
He became ten times a greater favourite than ever; and, as a 
natural result of the hospitality with which he was treated, he re 
laxed, as it were, perforce, the extremely parsimonious habits which 
his poverty had hitherto impelled him to observe, and very fre 
quently had little reunions at his own house, when wit and jollity 
reigned supreme dampened a little, of course, by the occasional 
remembrance of the untoward and melancholy fate which impended 
over the nephew of the late lamented bosom friend of the generous 
host. 

One fine day, this magnanimous old gentleman was agreeably 
surprised at the receipt of the following letter : 

O I. 

& tr I "Charles Goodfellow, Esquire- 



s 



" Dear Sir, In conformity with an order transmitted to our 
firm about two months since, by our esteemed correspondent, Mr. 
Barnabas Shuttleworthy, we have the honour of forwarding this 



g jj- morning, to your address, a double box of Chateau- Mar gaux, oj 
\per margin. 



.- i_i o j the antelope brand, violet seal. Box numbered and marked as 

H- W 3 



" PFe remain, sir, 

Fowr wos o& ?i^ ser fe, 

" HOGGS, FROGS, BOGS & Co. 

"City of , JuneZlst, 18. 

" P.S. 3Vt.e 6ox will reach you, by waggon, on the day after 
your receipt of this letter. Our respects to Mr. Shuttleworthy. 

"H. F. B. &Co." 



The fact is, that Mr. Goodfellow had, since the death of Mr 
Shuttleworthy, given over all expectation of ever receiving the 
promised Chateau-Margaux , and he, therefore, looked upon it now 
as a sort of especial dispensation of Providence in his behalf. He 
was highly delighted, of course, and in the exuberance of his joy, 
invited a large party of friends to a petit souper on the morrow, for 
the purpose of broaching the good old Mr, Shuttleworthy s present. 



" THOU ART THE MAN." 397 

Not that he said anything about "the good old Mr. Shuttle- 
worthy" when he issued the invitations. The fact is, he thought 
much, and concluded to say nothing at all. He did not mention 
to any one if I remember aright that he had received a present 
of Chateau-Margaux. He merely asked his friends to come and 
help him drink some of a remarkably fine quality and rich flavour, 
that he had ordered up from the city a couple of months ago, and 
of which he would be in the receipt upon the morrow. I have 
often puzzled myself to imagine why it was that " Old Charley" 
came to the conclusion to say nothing about having received the 
wine from his old friend, but I could never precisely understand 
his reason for the silence, although he had some excellent and very 
magnanimous reason, no doubt. 

The morrow at length arrived, and with it a very large and 
highly-respectable company at Mr. Goodfellow s house. Indeed, 
half the borough was there I myself among] the number but, 
much to the vexation of the host, the Chateau-Margaux did not 
arrive until a late hour, and when the sumptuous supper supplied 
by " Old Charley" had been done very ample justice by the guests. 
It came at length, however, a monstrously big box of it there was, 
too, and as the whole party were in excessively good humour, it 
was decided, nem. con., that it should be lifted upon the table, and 
its contents disembowelled forthwith. 

No sooner said than done. I lent a helping hand ; and, in a 
trice, we had the box upon the table, in the midst of all the bottles 
and glasses, not a few of which were demolished in the scuffle. 
" Old Charley," who was pretty much intoxicated, and excessively 
red in the face, now took a seat, with an air of mock dignity, at the 
head of the board, and thumped furiously upon it with a decanter, 
calling upon the company to keep order " during the ceremony of 
disinterring the treasure." 

After some vociferation, quiet was at length fully restored, and, 
as very often happens in similar cases, a profound and remarkable 
silence ensued. Being then requested to force open the lid, I com 
plied, of course, " with an infinite deal of pleasure." I inserted a 
chisel, and giving it a few slight taps with a hammer, the top of the 
box flew suddenly and violently off, and, at the same instant, there 
sprang up into a sitting position, directly facing the host, the bruised, 
bloody, and nearly putrid corpse of the murdered Mr. Shuttle- 
worthy himself. It gazed for a few moments, fixedly and sorrowfully, 



38 WORK S Of EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

with its decaying and lack-lustre eyes, full into the countenance of 
Mr. Goodfellow ; uttered slowly, but clearly and impressively, the 
words " Thou art the man !" and then, falling over the side of the 
chest as if thoroughly satisfied, stretched out its limbs quiveringly 
upon the table. 

The scene that ensued is altogether beyond description. The 
rush for the doors and windows was terrific, and many of the most 
robust men in the room fainted outright through sheer horror. 
But after the first wild, shrieking burst of affright, all eyes were 
directed to Mr. Goodfellow. If I live a thousand years I can never 
forget the more than mortal agony which was depicted in that 
ghastly face of his, so lately rubicund with triumph and wine. For 
several minutes he sat rigidly as a statue of marble ; his eyes 
seeming, in the intense vacancy of their gaze, to be turned inwards, 
and absorbed in the contemplation of his own miserable, murderous 
soul. At length, their expression appeared to flash suddenly out 
into the external world, when with a quick leap, he sprang from 
his chair, and falling heavily with his head and shoulders upon the 
table, and in contact with the corpse, poured out rapidly and vehe 
mently a detailed confession of the hideous crime for which Mr. 
Pemiifeather was then imprisoned and doomed to die. 

What he recounted was in substance this: He followed his 
victim to the vicinity of the pool ; there shot his horse with a 
pistol ; despatched the rider with its butt end ; possessed himself 
of the pocket-book ; and, supposing the horse dead, dragged it with 
great labour to the brambles by the pond. Upon his own beast he 
slung the corpse of Mr. Shuttleworthy, and thus bore it to a secure 
place of concealment a long distance off through the woods. 

The waistcoat, the knife, the pocket-book and bullet, had been 
placed by himself where found, with the view of avenging himself 
upon Mr. Pemiifeather. He had also contrived the discovery of 
the stained handkerchief and shirt. 

Towards the end of the blood-chilling recital, the words of the 
guilty wretch faltered and grew hollow. When the record was 
finally exhausted, he arose, staggered backwards from the table, 
and fell dead. 

The means by which this happily-timed confession was extorted, 
although efficient, were simple indeed. Mr. Goodfellow s excess of 
frankness had disgusted me, and excited my suspicions from the 



" THOU ART THE MAN." 399 

first. I was present when Mr. Pennifeather had struck him, and 
the fiendish expression which then arose upon his countenance, 
although momentary, assured me that his threat of vengeance 
would, if possible, be rigidly fulfilled. I was thus prepared to view 
the manoeuvring of " Old Charley" in a very different light from 
that in which it was regarded by the good citizens of Rattle- 
borough. I saw at once that all the criminating discoveries arose, 
either directly or indirectly, from himself. But the fact which 
clearly opened my eyes to the true state of the case, was the affair 
of the bullet, found by Mr. G. in the carcass of the horse; / had 
not forgotten, although the Battleburghers had, that there was a 
hole where the ball had entered the horse, and another where it 
went out. If it were found in the animal then, after having made 
its exit, I saw clearly that it must have been deposited by the 
person who found it. The bloody shirt and handkerchief confirmed 
the idea suggested by the bullet ; for the blood upon examination 
proved to be capital claret, and no more. When I came to think 
of these things, and also of the late increase of liberality and 
expenditure on the part of Mr. Goodfellow, I entertained a sus 
picion which was none the less strong because I kept it altogether 
to myself. 

In the meantime, I instituted a rigorous private search for the 
corpse of Mr. Shuttleworthy, and, for good reasons, searched in 
quarters as divergent as possible from those to which Mr. Good- 
fellow conducted his party. The result was that, after some days, 
I came across an old dry well, the mouth of which was nearly hid 
den by brambles ; and here, at the bottom, I discovered what I 
sought. 

Nowit so happened that I had overheard the colloquy between the 
two cronies, when Mr. Goodfellow had contrived to cajole his host 
into the promise of a box of Chateau-Margaux. Upon this hint I 
acted. I procured a stiff piece of whalebone, thrust it down the 
throat of the corpse, and deposited the latter in an old wine box 
taking care so to double the body up as to double the whalebone with 
it. In this manner I had to press forcibly upon the lid, to keep it 
down while I secured it with nails ; and I anticipated, of course, 
that as soon as these latter were removed, the top would fly o^fand 
the body up. 

Having thus arranged the box, I marked, numbered, and ad 
dressed it as already told; and then writing a letter in the name of 



400 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

the wine merchants with whom Mr. Shuttleworthy dealt, I gavg 
instructions to my servant to wheel the box to Mr. Goodfellow s 
door, in a barrow, at a given signal from myself. For the words 
which I intended the corpse to speak, I confidently depended upon 
my ventriloquial abilities ; for their effect, I counted upon the 
conscience of the murderous wretch* 

I believe there is nothing more to be explained. Mr. Penni- 
feather was released upon the spot, inherited the fortune of his 
uncle, profited by the lessons of experience, turned over a new leaf, 
and led happily ever afterwards a new life* 



HUMOUROUS TALES 



AND 



SKETCHES. 



THE SPECTACLES, 



[ANY years ago, it was the fashion to ridicule the idea of 
" love at first sight ;" but those who think, not less than 
those who feel deeply, have always advocated its existence. 
Modern discoveries, indeed, in what may be termed ethical mag 
netism or magnetsesthetics, render it probable that the most 
natural, and, consequently, the truest and most intense of the 
human affections, are those which arise in the heart as if by electric 
sympathy in a word, that the brightest and most enduring of the 
psychal fetters are those which are riveted by a glance. The con 
fession I am about to make will add another to the already almost 
innumerable instances of .the truth of the position. 

My story requires that I should be somewhat minute. I am 
still a very young man not yet twenty-two years of age. My 
name, at present, is a very usual arid rather plebeian one Simpson. 
I say " at present ;" for it is only lately that I have been so called 
having legislatively adopted this surname within the last year, 
in order to receive a large inheritance left me by a distant male 
relative, Adolphus Simpson, Esq. The bequest was conditioned 
upon my taking the name of the testator ; the family, not the 
Christian name ; my Christian name is Napoleon Buonaparte 
or, more properly, these are my first and middle appellations. 

I assumed the name Simpson with some reluctance, as in my 
true patronym, Froissart, I felt a very pardonable pride believing 
that I could trace a descent from the immortal author of the 
" Chronicles." While on the subject of names, by-the-by, I may 
mention a singular coincidence of sound attending the names of 
some of my immediate predecessors. My father was a, Monsieur 
Froissart, of Paris. His wife my mother, whom he married at 
tilt sen was a Mademoiselle Croissart, eldest daughter of Croissart 

26-2 



404 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

the banker ; whose wife, again, being only sixteen when married, 
was the eldest daughter of one Victor Voissart. Monsieur Voissart, 
very singularly, had married a lady of similar name a Made 
moiselle Moissart. She, too, was quite a child when married ; 
and her mother, also, Madame Moissaxt, was only fourteen when 
led to the altar. These early marriages are usual in France. 
Here, however, are Moissart, Voissart, Croissart, and Froissart, all 
in the direct line of descent. My own name, though, as I say, 
became Simpson, by act of Legislature, and with so much repug 
nance on my part, that, at one period, I actually hesitated about 
accepting the legacy with the useless and annoying proviso 
attached. 

As to personal endowments I am by no means deficient. On the 
contrary, I believe that I am well made, and possess what nine- 
tenths of the world would call a handsome face. In height I am 
five feet eleven. My hair is black and curling. My nose is 
sufficiently good. My eyes are large and gray ; and although, in 
fact, they are weak to a very inconvenient degree, still no defect in 
this regard would be suspected from their appearance. The weak 
ness itself, however, has always much annoyed me, and I have 
resorted to every remedy short of wearing glasses. Being youth 
ful and good-looking, I naturally dislike these, and have resolutely 
refused to employ them. I know nothing, indeed, which so dis 
figures the countenance of a young person, or so impresses every 
feature with an air of demureness, if not altogether of sanctimoni 
ousness and of age. An eye-glass, on the other hand, has a savour 
of downright foppery and affectation. I have hitherto managed as 
well as I could without either. But something too much of these 
merely personal details, which, after all, are of little importance. 
[ will content myself with saying, in addition, that my temperament 
is sanguine, rash, ardent, enthusiastic and that all my life I have 
been a devoted admirer of the women. 

One night last winter, I entered a box at the P Theatre, 

in company with a friend, Mr. Talbot. It was an opera night, and 
the bills presented a very rare attraction, so that the house was 
excessively crowded. We were in time, however, to obtain the 
front seats which had been reserved for us, and into which, with 
some little difficulty, we elbowed our way. 

For two hours, my companion, who was a musical fanatico, gave 
his undivided attention to the stage ; and, in the meantime, I 



THE SPECTACLES. 46$ 

amused myself by observing the audience, which consisted, in 
chief part, of the very elite of the city. Having satisfied myself 
upon this point, T was about turning my eyes to the prima donna, 
when they were arrested and riveted by a figure in one of the 
private boxes which had escaped my observation. 

If I live a thousand years, I can never forget the intense emo 
tion with which I regarded this figure. I* was that of a female, 
the most exquisite I had ever beheld. The face was so far turned 
towards the stage, that, for some minutes, I could not obtain a 
view of it but the form was divine; no other word can sufficiently 
express its magnificent proportion and even the term " divine " 
seems ridiculously feeble as I write it. 

The magic of a lovely form in woman the necromancy of 
female gracefulness was always a power which I had found it 
impossible to resist ; but here was grace personified, incarnate, the 
beau ideal of my wildest and most enthusiastic visions. The figure, 
almost all of which the construction of the box permitted to be 
seen, was somewhat above the medium height, and nearly ap 
proached, without positively reaching, the majestic. Its perfect 
fulness and tournure were delicious. The head, of which only the 
back was visible, rivalled in outline that of the Greek Psyche, and 
was rather displayed than concealed by an elegant cap of gazt 
aerienne, which put me in mind of the ventum textilem of Apuleius. 
The right arm hung over the balustrade of the box, and thrilled 
every nerve of my frame with its exquisite symmetry. Its upper 
portion was draperied by one of the loose open sleeves now in 
fashion. This extended but little below the elbow. Beneath it 
was worn an under one of some frail material, close-fitting, and 
terminated by a cuff of rich lace which fell gracefully over the top 
of the hand, revealing only the delicate fingers, upon one of which 
sparkled a diamond ring, which I at once saw was of extraordinary 
value. The admirable roundness of the wrist was well set off by 
a bracelet which encircled it, and which also was ornamented and 
clasped by a magnificent aigrette of jewels telling, in words that 
could not be mistaken, at once of the wealth and fastidious taste 
of the wearer. 

I gazed at this queenly apparition for at least half an hour, as 
if I had been suddenly converted to stone ; and, during this period, 
I felt the full force and truth of all that has been said or sung 
concerning "love at first sight." My feelings were totally different 



406 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

from any wliicli I had hitherto experienced, in the presence of 
even the most celebrated specimens of female loveliness. An un 
accountable, and what I am compelled to consider a magnetic 
sympathy of soul for soul, seemed to rivet not only my vision, but 
my whole powers of thought and feeling upon the admirable object 
before me. I saw I felt I knew that I was deeply, madly, irre 
vocably in love and this even before seeing the face of the person 
beloved. So intense, indeed, was the passion that consumed me, 
that I really believe it would have received little if any abatement 
had the features, yet unseen, proved of merely ordinary character ; 
so anomalous is the nature of the only true love of the love at 
first sight and so little really dependent is it upon the external 
conditions which only seem to create and control it. 

While I was thus wrapped in admiration of this lovely vision, a 
sudden disturbance among the audience caused her to turn her 
head partially towards me, so that 1 beheld the entire profile of 
the face. Its beauty even exceeded my anticipations and yet 
there was something about it which disappointed me without my 
being able to tell exactly what it was. I said "disappointed," 
but this is not altogether the word. My sentiments were at once 
quieted and exalted. They partook less of transport and more of 
calm enthusiasm of enthusiastic repose. This state of feeling 
arose, perhaps, from the Madonna-like and matronly air of the 
face ; and yet I at once understood that it could not have arisen 
entirely from this. There was something else some mystery 
which I could not develop some expression about the counte 
nance which slightly disturbed me while it greatly heightened my 
interest. In fact, I was just in that condition of mind which pre 
pares a young and susceptible man for any act of extravagance. 
Had the lady been alone, I should undoubtedly have entered her 
box and accosted her at all hazards ; but, fortunately, she was 
attended by two companions a gentleman, and a strikingly beau 
tiful woman, to all appearance a few years younger than herself. 

I revolved in my mind a thousand schemes by which I might 
obtain, hereafter, an introduction to the elder lady, or, for the 
present, at all events, a more distinct view of her beauty. I would 
have removed my position to one nearer her own, but the crowded 
state of the theatre rendered this impossible ; and the stern de 
crees of Fashion had, of late, imperatively prohibited the use of 



THE SPECTACLES. 407 

the opera-glass, in a case such as this, even had I been so fortunate 
as to have one with me but I had not and was thus in despair. 

At length I bethought me of applying to my companion. 

"Talbot," I said, "you have an opera-glass. Let me have it." 

" An opera-glass ! no ! what do you suppose 7 would be doing 
with an opera-glass V Here he turned impatiently towards the 
stage. 

"But, Talbot," I continued, pulling him by the shoulder, "listen 
to me, will you 1 Do you see the stage-box ? there ! no, the 
next Did you ever behold as lovely a woman ]" 

" She is very beautiful, no doubt," he said. 

" I wonder who she can be T 

" Why, in the name of all that is angelic, don t you Jcnoiv who she 
is 1 ? Not to know her, argues yourself unknown. She is the 
celebrated Madame Lalande the beauty of the day par excellence, 
and the talk of the whole town. Immensely wealthy, too a 
widow and a great matchhas just arrived from Paris." 

" Do you know her V 

" Yes I have the honour." 

" Will you introduce me V 

"Assuredly with the greatest pleasure ; when shall it be?" 

" To-morrow, at one, I will call upon you at B s." 

"Very good ; and now do hold your tongue, if you can." 

In this latter respect I was forced to take Talbot s advice ; for 
he remained obstinately deaf to every further question or sugges 
tion, and occupied himself exclusively, for the rest of the evening 
with what was transacting upon the stage. 

In the meantime I kept my eyes riveted on Madame Lalande, and 
at length had the good fortune to obtain a full front view of her face, 
It was exquisitely lovely : this, of course, my heart had told me be 
fore, even had not Talbot fully satisfied me upon the point but 
still the unintelligible something disturbed me. I finally concluded 
that my senses were impressed by a certain air of gravity, sadness, 
or, still more properly, of weariness, which took something from 
*he youth and freshness of the countenance, only to endow it with 
a seraphic tenderness and majesty, and thus, of course, to my en 
thusiastic and romantic temperament, with an interest tenfold. 

While I thus feasted my eyes, I perceived, at last, to my great 
trepidation, by an almost imperceptible start on the part of the 
lady, that she had become suddenly aware of the intensity of my 



4 o 8 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

gaze. Still, I was absolutely fascinated, and could not withdraw it, 
even for an instant. She turned aside her face, and again I saw 
only the chiselled contour of the back portion of the head. After 
some minutes, as if urged by curiosity to see if I was still looking, 
she gradually brought her face again round and again encountered 
my burning gaze. Her large dark eyes fell instantly, and a deep 
blush mantled her cheek. But what was my astonishment at per 
ceiving that she not only did not a second time avert her head, but 
that she actually took from her girdle a double eye-glass elevated 
it adjusted it and then regarded me through it, intently and 
deliberately, for the space of several minutes. 

Had a thunderbolt fallen at my feet I could not have been more 
thoroughly astounded astounded only not offended or disgusted 
in the slightest degree ; although an action so bold in any other 
woman would have been likely to offend or disgust. But the whole 
thing was done with so much quietude -so much nonchalance so 
much repose with so evident an air of the highest breeding, in 
short that nothing of mere effrontery was perceptible, and my 
sole sentiments were those of admiration and surprise. 

I observed that, upon her first elevation of the glass, she had 
seemed satisfied with a momentary inspection of my person, and 
was withdrawing the instrument, when, as if struck by a second 
thought, she resumed it, and so continued to regard me with fixed 
attention for the space of several minutes for five minutes, at the 
very least, I am sure. 

This action, so remarkable in an American theatre, attracted very 
general observation, and gave rise to an indefinite movement, or 
buzz, among the audience, which for a moment filled me with con 
fusion, but produced no visible effect upon the countenance of 
Madame Lalande. 

Having satisfied her curiosity if such it was she dropped the 
glass, and quietly gave her attention again to the stage ; her profile 
now being turned toward myself, as before. I continued to watch 
her unremittingly, although I was fully conscious of my rudeness 
in so doing. Presently 1 saw the head slowly and slightly change 
its position ; and soon I became convinced that the lady, while 
pretending to look at the stage, was, in fact, attentively regarding 
myself. It is needless to say what effect this conduct on the part 
of so fascinating a woman, had upon my excitable mind. 

Having thus scrutinized me for perhaps a quarter of an hour, the 



THE SPECTACLES. 409 

fair object of my passion addressed the gentleman who attended 
her, and, while she spoke, I saw distinctly, by the glances of both, 
that the conversation had reference to myself. 

Upon its conclusion, Madame Lalande again turned towards the 
stage, and, for a few minutes, seemed absorbed in the performances. 
At the expiration of this period, however, I was thrown into an 
extremity of agitation by seeing her unfold, for the second time, the 
eye-glass which hung at her side, fully confront me as before, and, 
disregarding the renewed buzz of the audience, survey me, from 
head to foot, with the same miraculous composure which had pre 
viously so delighted and confounded my soul. 

This extraordinary behaviour, by throwing me into a perfect fever 
of excitement into an absolute delirium of love served rather to 
embolden than to disconcert me. In the mad intensity of my devo 
tion, I forgot everything but the presence and the majestic loveliness 
of the vision which confronted my gaze. Watching my opportunity, 
when I thought the audience were fully engaged with the opera, I 
at length caught the eyes of Madame Lalande, and, upon the instant, 
made a slight but unmistakable bow. 

She blushed very deeply then averted her eyes then slowly 
and cautiously looked around, apparently to see if my rash action 
had been noticed then leaned over towards the gentleman who 
sat by her side. 

I now felt a burning sense of the impropriety I had committed, 
and expected nothing less than instant exposure ; while a vision of 
pistols upon the morrow floated rapidly and uncomfortably through 
my brain. I was greatly and immediately relieved, however, when 
I saw the lady merely hand the gentleman a play-bill, without 
speaking ; but the reader may form some feeble conception of my 
astonishment of my profound amazement my delirious bewilder 
ment of heart and soul when, instantly afterwards, having again 
glanced furtively around, she allowed her bright eyes to settle fully 
and steadily upon my own, and then, with a faint smile, disclosing a 
bright line of her pearly teeth, made two distinct, pointed and un 
equivocal affirmative inclinations of the head. 

It is useless, of course, to dwell upon my joy upon my transport 
upon my illimitable ecstasy of heart. If ever man was mad with 
excess of happiness, it was myself at that moment. I loved. This 
was my first love so I felt it .to be. It was love supreme inde 
scribable. It was " love at first sight ;" and at first sight, too, it 
Lad been appreciated and returned. 



4io WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

Yes, returned. How and why should I doubt it for an instant *? 
What other construction could I possibly put upon such conduct, 
on the part of a lady so beautiful so wealthy evidently so accom 
plished of so high breeding of so lofty a position in society in 
every regard so entirely respectable as I felt assured was Madame 
Lalande ] Yes, she loved me she returned the enthusiasm of my 
love, with an enthusiasm as blind as uncompromising as uncal- 
culating as abandoned and as utterly unbounded as my own ! 
These delicious fancies and reflections, however, were now inter 
rupted by the falling of the drop-curtain. The audience arose; and 
the usual tumult immediately supervened. Quitting Talbot ab 
ruptly, I made every effort to force my way into closer proximity 
with Madame Lalande. Having failed in this, on account of the 
crowd, I at length gave up the chase, and bent my steps homewards; 
consoling myself for my disappointment in not having been able 
to touch even the hem of her robe, by the reflection that I should 
be introduced by Talbot in due form on the morrow. 

This morrow at last came ; that is to say, a day finally dawned 
upon a long and weary night of impatience ; and then the hours 
until " one," were snail-paced, dreary and innumerable. But even 
Stamboul, it is said, shall have an end, and there came an end to 
this long delay. The clock struck. As the last echo ceased, I 
stepped into B s and inquired for Talbot. 

" Out," said the footman Talbot s own. 

"Out !" I replied, staggering back half a dozen paces "let me 
tell you, my fine fellow, that this thing is thoroughly impossible and 
impracticable ; Mr. Talbot is not out. What do you mean 1" 

" Nothing, sir : only Mr. Talbot is not in. That s all. He rode 

over to S , immediately after breakfast, and left word that he 

would not be in town again for a week." 

I stood petrified with horror and rage. I endeavoured to reply, 
but my tongue refused its office. At length I turned on my heel, 
livid with wrath, and inwardly consigning the whole tribe of the 
Talbots to the innnermost regions of Erebus. It was evident that 
my considerate friend, ilfanatico, had quite forgotten his appoint 
ment with myself had forgotten it as soon as it was made. At no 
time was he a very scrupulous man of his word. There was no help 
for it ; so smothering my vexation as well as I could, I strolled 
moodily up the street, propounding futile inquiries about Madame 
Lalande to every male acquaintance I met. By report she was 



THE SPECTACLES. 411 

known, I found, to all to many by sight but she had been in town 
only a few weeks, and there were very few, therefore, who claimed 
her personal acquaintance. These few, being still comparatively 
strangers, could not, or would not, take the liberty of introducing 
me through the formality of a morning call. While I stood thus, in 
despair, conversing with a trio of friends upon the all absorbing 
subject of my heart, it so happened that the subject itself passed by. 

" As I live, there she is !" cried one. 

" Surpassingly beautiful !" exclaimed a second. 

" An angel upon earth !" ejaculated a third. 

I looked ; and, in an open carriage which approached us, passing 
slowly down the street, sat the enchanting vision of the opera, 
accompanied by the younger lady who had occupied a portion of 
her box. 

" Her companion also wears remarkably well," said the one of my 
trio who had spoken first. 

" Astonishingly," said the second ; " still quite a brilliant air j 
but art will do wonders. Upon my word she looks better than she 
did at Paris five years ago. A beautiful woman still ; don t you 
think so, Froissart? Simpson, I mean." 

" Still!" said I, " and why shouldn t she be 1 But compared with 
her friend she is as a rushlight to the evening star a glow-worm to 
Antares." 

" Ha ! ha ! ha ! why, Simpson, you have an astonishing tact at 
making discoveries original ones, I mean." And here we sepa 
rated, while one of the trio begari humming a gay vaudeville, of 
which I caught only the lines 

"Ninon, Ninon, Ninon a bas 
A bas Ninon De L Enclos !" 

During this little scene, however, one thing had served greatly to 
console me, although it fed the passion by which I was consumed. 
As the carriage of Madame Lalande rolled by our group, I had ob 
served that she recognised me ; and more than this, she had blessed 
me, by the most seraphic of all imaginable smiles, with no equivocal 
mark of the recognition. 

As for an introduction, I was obliged to abandon all hope of it, 
until such time as Talbot should think proper to return from the 
country. In the meantime I perseveringly frequented every repu 
table place of public amusement ; and, at length, at the theatre, 



412 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

where I first saw her, I had the supreme bliss of meeting her, and 
of exchanging glances with her once again. This did not occur, 
however, until the lapse of a fortnight. Every day, in the interim, 
I had enquired for Talbot at his hotel, and every day had been 
thrown into a spasm of wrath by the everlasting " Not come homo 
yet" of his footman. 

Upon the evening in question, therefore, I was in a condition 
little short of madness. Madame Lalande, I had been told, was a 
Parisian had lately arrived from Paris might she not suddenly 
return? return before Talbot came back and might she not be 
thus lost to me for ever] The thought was too terrible to bear. 
Since my future happiness was at issue, I resolved to act with a 
manly decision. In a word, upon the breaking up of the play, I 
traced the lady to her residence, noted the address, and the next 
morning sent her a full and elaborate letter, in which I poured out 
my whole heart. 

I spoke boldly, freely in a word, I spoke with passion. I con 
cealed nothing nothing even of my weakness. I alluded to the 
romantic circumstances of our first meeting even to the glances 
which had passed between us. I went so far as to say that I felt 
assured of her love ; while I offered this assurance, and my own 
intensity of devotion, as two excuses for my otherwise unpardon 
able conduct. As a third, I spoke of my fear that she might quit 
the city before I could have the opportunity of a formal intro 
duction. I concluded the most wildly enthusiastic epistle ever 
penned, with a frank declaration of my worldly circumstances 
of my affluence and with an offer of my heart and of my 
hand. 

In an agony of expectation I awaited the reply. After what 
seemed the lapse of a century it came. 

Yes, actually came. Romantic as all this may appear, I really 
received a letter from Madame Lalande the beautiful, the wealthy, 
the idolised Madame Lalande. Her eyes her magnificent eyes 
had not belied her noble heart. Like a true Frenchwoman, as she 
was, she had obeyed the frank dictates of her reason the generous 
impulses of her nature despising the conventional pruderies of 
the world. She had not scorned my proposals. She had not 
sheltered herself in silence. She had not returned my letter un 
opened. She had even sent me, in reply, one penned by her own 
exquisite fingers. It ran thus : 



THE SPECTACLES. 413 

"Monsieur Simpson vill pardonne me for not compose de butefulle tong 
of his contre so veil as might. It is only de late dat I am arrive, and not 
yet ave de opportunite for to I e tudier. 

"Vid dis apologie for the maniere, I vill now say dat, helas ! Monsieur 
Simpson ave guess but de too true. Need I say de more ? Helas ? am I 
not ready speak de too moshe ? " EUGENIE LALANDE." 

This noble-spirited note I kissed a million times, and committed, 
no doubt, on its account, a thousand other extravagances that have 
now escaped my memory. Still Talbot ivould not return. Alas ! 
could he have formed even the vaguest idea of the suffering his 
absence occasioned his friend, would not his sympathising nature 
have flown immediately to my relief 1 Still, however, he came not. 
I wrote. He replied. He was detained by urgent business but 
would shortly return. He begged me not to be impatient to 
moderate my transports to read soothing books to drink nothing 
stronger than Hock and to bring the consolations of philosophy 
to my aid. The fool ! if he could not come himself, why, in the 
name of everything rational, could he not have enclosed me a letter 
of presentation] I wrote again, entreating him to forward one 
forthwith. My letter was returned by that footman, with the fol 
lowing endorsement in pencil. The scoundrel had joined his master 
in the country : 

"Left S yesterday, for parts unknown did not say where or 

^vhen be back so thought best to return letter, knowing your hand 
writing, and as how you is always, more or less, in a hurry. 

" Yours sincerely, "STUBBS." 

After this, it is needless to say, that I devoted to the infernal 
deities both master and valet ; but there was little use in anger, 
and no consolation at all in complaint. 

But I had yet a resource left, in my constitutional audacity. 
Hitherto it had served me well, and I now resolved to make it avail 
me to the end. Besides, after the correspondence which had passed 
between us, what act of mere informality could I commit, within 
bounds, that ought to be regarded as indecorous by Madame 
Lalande ] Since the affair of the letter, I had been in the habit of 
watching her house, and thus discovered that, about twilight, it 
was her custom to promenade, attended only by a negro in livery, 
in a public square overlooked by her windows. Here, amid the 
luxuriant and shadowing groves, in the gray gloom of a sweet mid 
summer evening, I observed my opportunity, and accosted her. 

The better to deceive the servant in attendance, I did this with 



414 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE, 

the assured air of an old and familiar acquaintance. With a 
presence of mind truly Parisian, she took the cue at once, and, to 
greet me, held out the most bewitchingly little of hands. The valet 
at once fell into the rear ; and now, withheai ts full to overflowing, 
we discoursed long and unreservedly of our love. 

As Madame Lalande spoke English even less fluently than she 
wrote it, our conversation was necessarily in French. In this sweet 
tongue, so adapted to passion, I gave loose to the impetuous enthu 
siasm of my nature, and with all the eloquence I could command, 
besought her consent to an immediate marriage. 

At this impatience she smiled. She urged the old story of de 
corum that bugbear which deters so many from bliss until the 
opportunity for bliss has for ever gone by. I had most imprudently 
made it known among my friends, she observed, that I desired her 
acquaintance thus that I did not possess it thus, again, there 
was no possibility of concealing the date of our first knowledge of 
each other. And then she adverted, with a blush, to the extreme 
recency of this date. To wed immediately would be improper 
would be indecorous would be outre. All this she said with a 
charming air of naivete which enraptured while it grieved and con 
vinced me. She went even so far as to accuse me, laughingly, of 
rashness of imprudence. She bade me remember that I really 
even knew not who she was what were her prospects, her con-* 
nections, her standing in society. She begged me, but with a sigh, 
to reconsider my proposal, and termed my love an infatuation a 
will-o -the-wisp a fancy or fantasy of the moment a baseless 
and unstable creation rather of the imagination than of the heart. 
These things she uttered as the shadows of the sweet twilight 
gathered darkly and more darkly around us and then, with a 
gentle pressure of her fairy-like hand, overthrew, in a single sweet 
instant, all the argumentative fabric she had reared. 

I replied as best I could as only a true lover can. I spoke at 
length, and perseveringly, of my devotion, of my passion of her 
exceeding beauty, and of my own enthusiastic admiration. In 
conclusion, I dwelt, with a convincing energy, upon the perils that 
encompass the course of love that course of true love that never 
did run smooth, and thus deduced the manifest danger of rendering 
that course unnecessarily long. 

This latter argument seemed finally to soften the rigour of her 
determination. She relented ; but there was yet an obstacle, she 



THE SPECTACLES. 415 

said, which she felt assured I had not properly considered. This 
was a delicate point for a woman to urge, especially so ; in men 
tioning it, she saw that she must make a sacrifice of her feelings ; 
still, for me, every sacrifice should be made. She alluded to the 
topic of age. Was I aware was I fully aware of the discrepancy 
between us ? That the age of the husband should surpass by a few 
years even by fifteen or twenty the age of the wife, was regarded 
by the world as admissible, and, indeed, as even proper ; but she 
had always entertained the belief that the years of the wife should 
never exceed in number those of the husband. A discrepancy of 
this unnatural kind gave rise, too frequently, alas! to a life of 
unhappiness. Now she was aware that my own age did not exceed 
two and twenty ; and I, on the contrary, perhaps, was not aware 
that the years of my Eugenie extended very considerably beyond 
that sum. 

About all this there was a nobility of soul a dignity of candour 
which delighted which enchanted me which eternally riveted 
my chains. I could scarcely restrain the excessive transport which 
possessed me. 

" My sweetest Eugenie," I cried, { what is all this about which 
you are discoursing 1 ? Your years surpass in some measure my 
own. But what then ] The customs of the world are so many 
conventional follies. To those who love as ourselves, in what 
respect differs a year from an hour ? I am twenty-two, you say, 
granted : indeed you may as well call me, at once, twenty -three. 
Now you yourself, my clearest Eugenie, can have numbered no 
more than can have numbered no more than no more than 
than than than ", 

Here I paused for an instant, in the expectation that Madame 
Lalande would interrupt me by supplying her true age. Bat a 
French woman is seldom direct, and has always, by way of answer 
to an embarrassing query, some little practical reply of her own. 
In the present instance, Eugenie, who, for a few moments past, 
had seemed to be searching for something in her bosom, at length 
let fall upon the grass a miniature, which I immediately picked up 
and presented to her. 

"Keep it!" she said, with one of her most ravishing smiles, 
" Keep it for my sake for the sake of her whom it too flatteringly 
represents. Besides, upon the back of the trinket, you may dis 
cover, perhaps, the very information you seem to desire, It is 



416 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

now, to be sure, growing rather dark but you can examine it at 
your leisure in the morning. In the mean time, you shall be my 
escort home to-night. My friends are about holding a little musical 
levee. I can promise you, too, some good singing. We French 
are not nearly so punctilious as you Americans, and I shall have 
no difficulty in smuggling you in, in the character of an old ac 
quaintance." 

With this, she took my arm, and I attended her home. The 
mansion was quite a fine one, and, I believe, furnished in good 
taste. Of this latter point, however, I am scarcely qualified to 
judge ; for it was just dark as we arrived ; and in American man 
sions of the better sort, lights seldom, during the heat of summer, 
make their appearance at this, the most pleasant period of the day. 
In about an hour after my arrival, to be sure, a single shaded solar 
lamp was lit in the principal drawing-room ; and this apartment, 
I could thus see, was arranged with unusual good taste and even 
splendour ; but two other rooms of the suite, and in which the 
company chiefly assembled, remained, during the whole evening, 
in a very agreeable shadow. This is a well-conceived custom, 
giving the party at least a choice of light or shade, and one which 
our friends over the water could not do better than immediately 
adopt. 

The evening thus spent was unquestionably the most delicious 
of my life. Madame Lalande had not overrated the musical abil 
ities of her friends ; and the singing I here heard I had never 
heard excelled in any private circle out of Vienna. The instru 
mental performers were many and of superior talents. The vocal 
ists were chiefly ladies, and no individual sang less than well. At 
length, upon a peremptory call for " Madame Lalande," she arose 
at once, without affectation or demur, from the chaise lonyue upon 
which she had sate by my side, and, accompanied by one or two 
gentlemen, and her female friend of the opera, repaired to the 
piano in the main drawing-room. I would have escorted her my 
self ; but felt that, under the circumstances of my introduction to 
the house, I had better remain unobserved where I was. I was 
thus deprived of the pleasure of seeing, although not of hearing, 
her sing. 

The impression she produced upon the company seemed electri 
calbut the effect upon myself was something even more. I 
know not how adequately to describe it. It arose in part, no doubt, 



THE SPECTACLES. 41? 

from the sentiment of love with which I was imbued ; but chiefly 
from my conviction of the extreme sensibility of the singer. It 
is beyond the reach of art to endow either air or recitative with 
more impassioned expression than was hers. Her utterance of 
the romance in Otello the tone with which she gave the words 
" Sul mio sasso? in the Capuletti is ringing in my memory yet. 
Her lower tones were absolutely miraculous. Her voice embraced 
three complete octaves, extending from the contralto D to the D 
upper soprano, and, though sufficiently powerful to have filled the 
San Carlos, executed, with the minutest precision, every difficulty 
of vocal composition ascending and descending scales, cadences, 
Qifiorituri. In the finale of the Sonnanibula, she brought about a 
most remarkable effect at the words 



Ah ! non guinge uman pensiero 
Al contento ond io son piena." 



Here, in imitation of Malibran, she modified the original phrase 
of Bellini, so as to let her voice descend to the tenor G, when by 
a rapid transition, she struck the G above the treble stave, spring 
ing over an interval of two octaves. 

Upon rising from the piano after these miracles of vocal execu 
tion, she resumed her seat by my side ; when I expressed to her, in 
terms of the deepest enthusiasm, my delight at her performance. 
Of my surprise I said nothing, and yet was I most unfeignedly 
surprised ; for a certain feebleness, or rather a certain tremulous 
indecision of voice in ordinary conversation, had prepared me to 
anticipate that, in singing, she would not acquit herself with any 
remarkable ability. 

Our conversation was now long, earnest, uninterrupted, and 
totally unreserved. She made me relate many of the earlier 
passages of my life, and listened with breathless attention to every 
word of the narrative. I concealed nothing I felt that I had a 
right to conceal nothing from her confiding affection. Encouraged 
by her candour upon the delicate point of her age, I entered, with 
perfect frankness, not only into a detail of my many minor vices, 
but made full confession of those moral and even those physical 
infirmities, the disclosure of which, in demanding so much higher 
a degree of courage, is so much surer an evidence of love. I 
touched upon my college indiscretions upon my extravagances 
upon my carousals upon my debtsupon my flirtations. I even 

27 



4i 8 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

went so far as to speak of a slightly hectic cough with which, at 
one time, I had been troubled of a chronic rheumatism of a 
twinge of hereditary gout and, in conclusion, of the disagreeable 
and inconvenient, but hitherto carefully concealed, weakness of 
my eyes. 

"Upon this latter point," said Madame Lalande, laughingly, 
* you have been surely injudicious in coming to confession; for, 
without the confession, I take it for ganted that no one would 
have accused you of the crime. By-the~by," she continued, " have 
you any recollection" and here I fancied that a blush, even 
through the gloom of the apartment, became distinctly visible upon 
her cheek "have you any recollection, mon cher ami, of this 
little ocular assistant which now depends from my neck ]" 

As she spoke she twirled in her fingers the identical double eye 
glass, which had so overwhelmed me with confusion at the opera. 

" Full well alas ! do I remember it," I exclaimed, pressing 
passionately the delicate hand which offered the glasses for my 
inspection. They formed a complex and magnificent toy, richly 
chased and filigreed, and gleaming with jewels, which, even in 
the deficient light, I could not help perceiving were of high value 

" Eh bien ! mon ami" she resumed with a certain empresse- 
ment of manner that rather surprised me "Eh bien, mon ami, 
you have earnestly besought of me a favour which you have been 
pleased to denominate priceless. You have demanded of me my 
hand upon the morrow. Should I yield to your entreaties and, 
I may add, to the pleadings of my own bosom would I not be 
entitled to demand of you a very a very little boon in return V 

"Name it !" I exclaimed with an energy that had nearly drawn 
upon us the observation of the company, and restrained by their 
presence alone from throwing myself impetuously at her feet. 
" Name it, my beloved, my Eugenie, my own ! name it ! but 
alas, it is already yielded ere named." 

" You shall conquer then, mon amie," said she, " for the sake 
of the Eugenie whom you love, this little weakness which you have 
last confessed this weakness more moral than physical and 
which, let me assure you, is so unbecoming the nobility of your real 
nature so inconsistent with the candour of your usual character 
and which, if permitted farther control, will assuredly involve 
you, sooner or later, in some very disagreeable scrape. You shall 
conquer, for my sake, this affectation which leads you, as you your* 



THE SPECTACLES. 419 

self acknowledge, to the tacit or implied denial of your infirmity 
of vision. For, this infirmity you virtually deny, in refusing to 
employ the customary means for its relief. You will understand 
me to say, then, that I wish you to wear spectacles : ah, hush ! 
you have already consented to wear them, for my sake. You shall 
accept the little toy which I now hold in my hand, and which, 
though admirable as an aid to vision, is really of no very immense 
value as a gem. You perceive that, by a trifling modification thus 
or thus it can be adapted to the eyes in the form of spectacles, or 
worn in the waistcoat pocket as an eye-glass. It is in the former 
mode, however, and habitually, that you have already consented to 
wear it for my sake" 

This request must I confess it? confused me in no little degree. 
But the condition with which it was coupled rendered hesitation, 
of course, a matter altogether out of the question. 

" It is done !" I cried, with all the enthusiasm that I could muster 
at the moment. "It is done it is most cheerfully agreed. I 
sacrifice every feeling for your sake. To-night I wear this dear 
eye-glass, as an eye-glass, and upon my heart ; but with the earliest 
dawn of that morning which gives me the pleasure of calling you 
wife, I will place it upon my upon my nose and there wear it 
ever afterwards, in the less romantic, and less fashionable, but cer 
tainly in the more serviceable form which you desire." 

Our conversation now turned upon the details of our arrange 
ments for the morrow. Talbot, I learned from my betrothed, had 
just arrived in town. I was to see him at once, and procure a 
carriage. The soiree would scarcely break up before two ; and by 
this hour the vehicle was to be at the door ; when, in the confusion 
occasioned by the departure of the company, Madame L. could 
easily enter it unobserved. We were then to call at the house of 
a clergyman who would be in waiting ; there be married, drop 
Talbot, and proceed on a short tour to the East ; leaving the 
fashionable world at home to make whatever comments upon the 
matter it thought best. 

Having planned all this, I immediately took leave, and went in 
search of Talbot, but on the way I could not refrain from stepping 
into an hotel, for the purpose of inspecting the miniature ; and this 
I did by the powerful aid of the glasses. The countenance was a 
surpassingly beautiful one ! Those large luminous eyes ! that 
proud Grecian nose ! those dark luxuriant curls ! " Ah !" said I 

27-2 



4 2o WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

exultingly to myself, "this is indeed the speaking image of my 
beloved !" I turned the reverse, and discovered the words 
" Eugenie Lalande aged twenty-seven years and seven months." 

I found Talbot at home, and proceeded at once to acquaint him 
with my good fortune. He professed excessive astonishment, of 
course, but congratulated me most cordially, and proffered every 
assistance in his power. In a word, we carried out our arrange 
ment to the letter ; and at two in the morning, just ten minutes 
after the ceremony, I found myself in a close carriage with Madame 
Lalande with Mrs. Simpson, I should say and driving at a great 
rate out of town, in a direction north-east by north, half- north. 

It had been determined for us by Talbot, that, as we were to 

be up all night, we should make our first stop at C , a village 

about twenty miles from the city, and there get an early breakfast 
and some repose, before proceeding upon our route. At four pre 
cisely, therefore, the carriage drew up at the door of the principal 
inn. I handed my adored wife out, and ordered breakfast forth 
with. In the meantime we were shown into a small parlour and 
sat down. 

It was now nearly, if not altogether, daylight ; and as I gazed, 
enraptured, at the angel by my side, the singular idea came, all 
at once, into my head, that this was really the very first moment 
since my acquaintance with the celebrated loveliness of Madame 
Lalande, that I had enjoyed a near inspection of that loveliness 
by daylight at all. 

"And now, mon ami" said she, taking my hand, and so inter 
rupting this train of reflection, " and now, mon cher ami, since we 
are indissolubly one since I have yielded to your passionate en 
treaties, and performed my portion of our agreement I presume 
you have not forgotten that you also have a little favour to bestow 
a little promise which it is your intention to keep. Ah ! let 
me see ! Let me remember ! Yes ; full easily do I call to mind 
the precise words of the dear promise you made to Eugenie last 
night. Listen ! You spoke thus : * It is done ! it is most 
cheerfully agreed ! I sacrifice every feeling for your sake. To 
night I wear this dear eye-glass a,- an eye-glass, and upon my heart; 
but with the earliest dawn of that morning which gives me the 
privilege of calling you wife, I will place it upon my upon my 
nose and there wear it ever afterwards, in the less romantic, and 
less fashionable, but certainly in the more serviceable form which 



THE SPECTACLES, 421 

you desire. These were the exact words, my beloved husband, 
were they not T 

"They were/ I said; "you have an excellent memory; and 
assuredly, my beautiful Eugenie, there is no disposition on my 
part to evade the performance of the trivial promise they imply. 
See ! Behold ! They are becoming rather are. they not V 
And here, having arranged the glasses in the ordinary form of 
spectacles, I applied them gingerly in their proper position ; while 
Madame Simpson, adjusting her cap, and folding her arms, sat 
bolt upright in her chair, in a somewhat .stiff and prim, and 
indeed in a somewhat undignified position. 

"Goodness gracious me !" I exclaimed almost at the very instant 
that the rim of the spectacles had settled upon my nose " My ! 
goodness gracious me ! why what can be the matter with these 
glasses 1 and taking them quickly off, I wiped them carefully with 
a silk handkerchief, and adjusted them again. 

But if, in the first instance, there had occurred something which 
occasioned me surprise, in the second, this surprise became elevated 
into astonishment ; and this astonishment was profound was 
extreme indeed I may say it was horrific. What, in the name of 
everything hideous, did this mean ? Could I believe my eyes ? 
could 1 1 that was the question. Was that was that was that 
rouge? And were those and were those were those ivrinkles, 
upon the visage of Eugenie Lalande 1 And oh, Jupiter ! and 
every one of the gods and goddesses, little and big! what what 
what what had become of her teeth ? I dashed the spectacles 
violently to the ground, and leaping to my feet, stood erect in the 
middle of the floor, confronting Mrs. Simpson, with my arms set 
akimbo, and grinning and foaming, but at the same time utterly 
speechless and helpless with terror and with rage. 

Now I have already said that Madame Eugenie Lalande that is 
to say, Simpson spoke the English language but very little better 
than she wrote it : and for this reason she very properly never 
attempted to speak it upon ordinary occasions. But rage will 
carry a lady to any extreme ; and in the present case it carried 
Mrs. Simpson to the very extraordinary extreme of attempting to 
hold a conversation in a tongue that she did not altogether 
understand. 

"Veil, Monsieur/ said she, after surveying me, in great apparent 
astonishment, for some moments "Yell, monsieur! and vat 



422 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

den 1 vat de matter now 1 Is it de dance of de Saint Vitusse dat 
you ave ? If not like me, vat for vy buy de pig in de poke V 1 

"You wretch!" said I, catching my breath " you you you 
villanous old hag !" 

" Ag 1 ? ole ? me not so ver ole, after all ! me not one single day 
more dan de eighty-doo. 5 

"Eighty-two!" I ejaculated, staggering to the wall " eighty- 
two hundred thousand baboons! The miniature said twenty- 
seven years and seven months !" 

" To be sure ! dat is so ! ver true ! but den de portraits has 
been take for dese fifty-five year. Ven I go marry my segonde 
usbande, Monsieur Lalande, at dat time I had de portraite take 
for my daughter by my first usbande, Monsieur Moissart V 

" Moissart !" said I 

" Yes, Moissart ;" said she, mimicking my pronunciation, which, 
to speak the truth, was none of the best ; " and vat den ? Vat you 
know bout de Moissart 1" 

" Nothing, you old fright ! I know nothing about him at all ; 
only I had an ancestor of that name, once upon a time." 

" Dat name ! and vat you ave for say to dat name 1 Tis ver 
goot name ; and so is Voissart dat is ver goot name too. My 
daughter, Mademoiselle Moissart, she marry von Monsieur Vois 
sart ; and de name is bote ver respectaable name." 

" Moissart V I exclaimed, " and Voissart ! why what is it you 
mean 

"Vat I mean? I mean Moissart and Voissart; and for de 
matter of dat, I mean Ooissart and Froissart, too, if I only tink 
proper to mean it. My daughter s daughter, Mademoiselle Vois 
sart, she marry von Monsieur Croissart, and den agin, my daugh 
ter s grande daughter, Mademoiselle Croissart, she marry von Mon 
sieur Froissart ; and I suppose you say dat dat is not von ver 
respectaable name." 

" Froissart !" said I, beginning to faint, " why surely you don t 
say Moissart, and Voissart, and Croissart, and Froissart 1" 

" Yes," she replied, leaning fully back in her chair, and stretch 
ing out her lower limbs at great length ; " yes, Moissart, and Vois 
sart, and Croissart, and Froissart. But Monsieur Froissart, he vas 
von ver big vat you call fool he vas von ver great big donee like 
yourself for he lef la belle France for come to dis stupicle Ame"r- 
que and ven he get here he vent and ave von ver stupide, von ver, 



THE SPECTACLES. 423 

ver stupide sonn, so I hear, dough I not yet ave ad de plaisir to 
meet vid him neither me nor my companion, de Madame Ste 
phanie Lalande. He is name de Napoleon Bonaparte Froissart, 
ancl I suppose you say dat dat, too, is not von ver respectaable 
name." 

Either the length or the nature of this speech had the effect of 
working up Mrs. Simpson into a very extraordinary passion indeed; 
and as she made an end of it, with great labour, she jumped up 
from her chair like somebody bewitched, dropping upon the floor 
an entire universe of bustle as she jumped. Once upon her feet, 
she gnashed her gums, brandished her arms, rolled up her sleeves, 
shook her fist in my face, and concluded the performance by tear 
ing the cap from her head, and with it an immense wig of the most 
valuable and beautiful black hair, the whole of which she dashed 
upon the ground with a yell, and there trampled and danced a 
fandango upon it, in an absolute ecstasy and agony of rage, 

Meantime I sank aghast into the chair which she had vacated. 
" Moissart and Voissart !" I repeated, thoughtfully, as she cut one 
of her pigeon- wings, and "Croissart and Froissart!" as "she com 
pleted another " Moissart and Voissart and Croissart and Napo^ 
leon Bonaparte Froissart ! why, you ineffable old serpent, that s 
me that s me d ye hear 1 ? that s me" here I screamed at the 
top of my voice "that s me e e/ I am Napoleon Bonaparte 
Froissart! and if I havn t married my great-great-grandmother, 
I wish I may be everlastingly confounded !" 

Madame Eugenie Lalande, quasi Simpson formerly Moissart 
was, in sober fact, my great-great-grandmother. In her youth 
she had been beautiful, and even at eighty-two, retained the 
majestic height, the sculptural contour of head, the fine eyes and 
the Grecian nose of her girlhood. By the aid of these, of pearl- 
powder, of rouge, of false hair, false teeth, and false tournure, as 
well as of the most skilful modistes of Paris, she contrived to 
hold a respectable footing among the beauties en peu passes of 
the French metropolis. In this respect, indeed, she might have 
been regarded as little less than the equal of the celebrated Ninon 
De L Enclos. 

She was immensely wealthy, and being left, for the second time, 
a widow without children, she bethought herself of my existence 
in America, and, for the purpose of making me her heir, paid a 
visit to the United States, in company with a distant and exceed- 



424 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

ingly lovely relative of her second husband s a Madame Stephanie 
Lalande. 

At the opera, my great-great-grandmother s attention was 
arrested by niy notice ; and, upon surveying me through her eye 
glass, she was struck with a certain family resemblance to herself. 
Thus interested and knowing that the heir she sought was actually 
in the city, she made inquiries of her party respecting me. The 
gentleman who attended her knew my person, and told her who I 
was. The information thus obtained induced her to renew her. 
scrutiny ; and this scrutiny it was which so emboldened me that I 
behaved in the absurd manner already detailed. She returned my 
bow, however, under the impression that, by some odd accident, I 
had discovered her identity. When, deceived by my weakness of 
vision, and the arts of the toilet, in respect to the age and charms 
of the strange lady, I demanded so enthusiastically of Talbot who 
she was, he concluded that I meant the younger beauty, as a 
matter of course, and so informed me, with perfect truth, that she 
was " the celebrated widow, Madame Lalande." 

In the street, next morning, my great-great-grandmother en 
countered Talbot, an old Parisian acquaintance ; and the conversa 
tion very naturally turned upon myself. My deficiencies of vision 
were then explained; for these were notorious, although I was 
entirely ignorant of their notoriety; and my good old relative dis 
covered, much to her chagrin, that she had been deceived in sup 
posing me aware of her identity, and that I had been merely making 
a fool of myself, in making open love, in a theatre, to an old woman 
unknown. By way of punishing me for this imprudence, she con 
cocted with Talbot a plot. He purposely kept out of my way, to 
avoid giving me the introduction. My street inquiries about " the 
lovely widow, Madame Lalande," were supposed to refer to the 
younger lady of course ; and thus the conversation with the three 
gentlemen whom I encountered shortly after leaving Talbot s hotel, 
will be easily explained, as also their allusion to Ninon De L Enclos. 
I had no opportunity of seeing Madame Lalande closely during day 
light and, at her musical soiree, my silly weakness in refusing the 
aid of glasses effectually prevented me from making a discovery of 
her age. When " Madame Lalande " was called upon to sing, the 
younger lady was intended ; and it was she who arose to obey the 
call, my great-great-grandmother, to further the deception, arising 
at the same moment, and accompanying her to the piano in the 



THE SPECTACLES. 425 

main drawing-room. Had I decided upon escorting her thither, 
it had been her design to suggest the propriety of my remaining 
where I was ; but my own prudential views rendered this unneces 
sary. The songs which I so much admired, and which so confirmed 
my impression of the youth of my mistress, were executed by Ma 
dame Stephanie Lalande. The eye-glass was presented by way of 
adding a reproof to the hoax a sting to the epigram of the decep 
tion. Its presentation afforded an opportunity for the lecture upon 
affectation with which I was so especially edified. It is almost 
superfluous to add that the glasses of the instrument, as worn by 
the old lady, had been exchanged by her for a pair better adapted 
to my years. They suited me, in fact, to a T. 

The clergyman, who merely pretended to tie the fatal knot, was 
a boon companion of Talbot s, and no priest. He was an excellent 
" whip," however; and having doffed his cassock to put on a great 
coat, he drove the hack which conveyed the " happy couple " out 
of town. Talbot took a seat at his side. The two scoundrels were 
thus " in at the death," and through a half open window of the back 
parlour of the inn, amused themselves in grinning at the denoue 
ment of the drama. I believe I shall be forced to call them both out. 

Nevertheless, I am not the husband of my great-great-grand- 
mother ; and this is a reflection which affords me infinite relief ; 
but I am the husband of Madame Lalande of Madame Stephanie 
Lalande with whom my good old relative, besides making me her 
sole heir when she dies if she ever does has been at the trouble 
of concocting me a match. In conclusion : I am done for ever with 
billets doux, and am never to be met without SPECTACLES. 



THE DUG DE UOMELETTE, 

"And stepped at once into a cooler clime." Cowper. 

EATS fell by a criticism. Who was it died of " The Andro 
mache ?"* Ignoble souls ! De L Omelette perished of an 
ortolan. L histoire en est breve. Assist me, Spirit of Apicius ! 
A golden cage bore the little winged wanderer, enamoured, nielt- 

* Montfleury. The author of the Parnasse Reforme makes him speak in 
Hades : " L homme doncqui voudrait savoir ce dont je suis mort, qui l ne 
demande pas si lftit defievre ou de podayre ou d autre chose, mais qui l cn- 
tende que cefut de L Andromache, " 



426 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

ing, indolent, to the Chaussee d Antin, from its home in far Peru. 
From its queenly possessor, La Bellissima, to the Due De L Ome- 
lette, six peers of the empire conveyed the happy bird. 

That night the Due was to sup alone. In the privacy of his bu 
reau he reclined languidly on that ottoman for which he sacrificed 
his loyalty in outbidding his king the notorious ottoman of Cadet. 

He buries his face in the pillow. The clock strikes ! Unable to 
restrain his feelings, his Grace swallows an olive. At this moment 
the door gently opens to the sound of soft music, and lo ! the most 
delicate of birds is before the most enamoured of men ! But what 
inexpressible dismay now overshadows the countenance of the 
Due 1 " Horreur ! chien ! Baptiste ! I oiseau ! ah, bon Dieu ! 
cet oiseau modeste que lu as deshabille de ses plumes, et que tu as 
servi sans papier /" It is superfluous to say more : the Due expired 
in a paroxysm of disgust. 

" Ha ! ha! ha !" said his Grace on the third day after his decease 

" He ! he ! he !" replied the Devil faintly, drawing himself up with 
an air of hauteur. 

" Why, surely you are not serious," retorted De L Omelette. " I 
have sinned c est vrai but, my good sir, consider ! you have no 
actual intention of putting such such barbarous threats into 
execution." 

" No what ?" said his majesty" come, sir, strip !" 

" Strip, indeed ! very pretty i faith ! no, sir, I shall not strip. 
Who are you, pray, that I, Due De L Omelette, Prince de Foie- 
Gras, just come of age, author of the * Mazurkiad/ and Member of 
the Academy, should divest myself at your bidding of the sweetest 
pantaloons ever made by Bourdon, the daintiest robe-de-chainbre 
ever put together by Rombert to say nothing of the taking my 
hair out of paper not to mention the trouble I should have in 
drawing off my gloves V 

" Who am I ? ah, true ! I am Baal-Zebub, Prince of the Fly. I 
took thee, just now, from a rose- wood coffin inlaid with ivory. Thou 
wast curiously scented, and labelled as per invoice. Belial sent thee, 
my Inspector of Cemeteries. The pantaloons, which thou sayest 
were made by Bourdon, are an excellent pair of linen drawers, and 
tliy robe-de-chambre is a shroud of no scanty dimensions." 

" Sir !" replied the Due, " I am not to be insulted with impunity ! 
Sir ! I shall take the earliest opportunity of avenging this insult ! 
Sir ! you shall hear from me ! In the meantime au revoirT and 



THE DUC DE V OMELETTE. 427 

the Due was bowing himself out of the Satanic presence, when he 
was interrupted and brought back by a gentlemen in waiting. Here 
upon his Grace rubbed his eyes, yawned, shrugged his shoulders, 
reflected. Having become satisfied of his identity, he took a 
bird s-eye view of his whereabouts. 

The apartment was superb. Even De L Omelette pronounced it 
bien comme il faut. It was not its length nor its breadth, but its 
height ah, that was appalling ! There was no ceiling certainly 
none but a dense whirling mass of fiery-coloured clouds. His 
Grace s brain reeled as he glanced upwards. From above, hung a 
chain of an unknown blood-red metal its upper end lost, like the 
city of Boston, parmi les nues. From its nether extremity swung 
a large cresset. The Due knew it to be a ruby; but from it there 
poured a light so intense, so still, so terrible, Persia never worshipped 
such Gheber never imagined such Mussulman never dreamed of 
such, when, drugged with opium, he has tottered to a bed of pop 
pies, his back to the flowers, and his face to the God Apollo. The 
Due muttered a slight oath decidedly approbatory. 

The corners of the room were rounded into niches. Three of 
these were filled with statues of gigantic proportions. Their beauty 
was Grecian, their deformity Egyptian, their tout ensemble French. 
In the fourth niche the statue was veiled ; it was not colossal. 
But then there was a taper ankle, a sandalled foot. De L Omelette 
pressed his hand upon his heart, closed his eyes, raised them, and 
caught his Satanic Majesty in a blush. 

But the paintings ! Kupris ! Astarte ! Astoreth ! a thousand 
and the same ! And Rafaelle has beheld them ! Yes, Rafaelle has 
been here ; for did he not paint the 1 and was he not con 
sequently damned ] The paintings ! the paintings ! O luxury ! 
O love ! who, gazing on those forbidden beauties, shall have eyes 
for the dainty devices of the golden frames that besprinkled, like 
stars, the hyacinth and the porphyry walls *? 

But the Due s heart is fainting within him. He is not, however, 
q,s you suppose, dizzy with magnificence, nor drunk with the ecstatic 
breath of those innumerable censers. C est vrai que de toutes 
ces choses il a pense beaucoup mais! The Due De L Omelette is 
terror-stricken ; for, through the lurid vista which a single uncur 
tained window is affording, lo ! gleams the most ghastly of all fires ! 

Lc pauvre Due ! He could not help imagining that the glorious, 
the voluptuous, the never-dying melodies which pervaded that hall, 



428 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

as they passed filtered and transmuted through the alchemy of the 
enchanted window-panes, were the wailings and the bowlings of 
the hopeless and the damned ! And there, too ! there ! upon 
that ottomam! who could he be? he, the petit-maitre no, the 
Deity who sat as if carved in marble, et qui sourit, with his pale 
countenance, si amerement f 

Mais il faut agir, that is to say, a Frenchman never faints 
outright. Besides, his Grace hated a scene De L Omelette is 
himself again. There were some foils upon a table some points 

also. The Due had studied under B ; il avait tue ses six 

hommes. Now, then, il pent tfeckapper. He measures two points, 
and, with a grace inimitable, offers his Majesty the choice. Hor- 
reur / his Majesty does not fence ! 

Mais iljoue I how happy a thought ! but his Grace had always 
an excellent memory. He had dipped in the " Diable " of the 
Abbe" Gaultier. Therein it is said "que le Diable n ose pas 
refuses unjeu d ecart^. 

But the chances the chances ! True desperate ; but scarcely 
more desperate than the Due. Besides, was he not in the secret 1 
had he not skimmed over Fere Le Brun ? was he not a member 
of the Club Vingt-un? "/Sije perds" said he, "je serai deux fois 
perdu I shall be doubly damned voila tout ! (Here his Grace 
shrugged his shoulders.) Si je gagne,je reviendrai a mes ortolans 
que les cartes soient preparees /" 

His Grace was all care, all attention his Majesty all confidence. 
A spectator would have thought of Francis and Charles. His 
Grace thought of his game. His Majesty did not think ; he shuf 
fled. The Due cut. 

The cards are dealt. The trump is turned it is it is the 
king ! No it was the queen. His Majesty cursed her masculine 
habiliments. De L Omelette placed his hand upon his heart. 

They play. The Due counts. The hand is out. His Majesty 
counts heavily, smiles, and is taking wine. The Due slips a card^ 

" C est a vous a faire" said his Majesty, cutting. His Grace 
bowed, dealt, and arose from the table en presentant le lioi. 

His Majesty looked chagrined. 

Had Alexander not been Alexander, he would have been Dio 
genes ; and the Due assured his antagonist in taking leave, " que 
s il n etlt pas tie De L Omelette il n aurait point d objection d etre 
le DiabU? 



LIONIZING. 429 



LIONIZING. 

all people went 



Upon their ten toes in wild wonderment." 

Bishop Hall s Satires. 

AM that is to say I tvas a great man ; but I am neither 
the author of Junius nor the man in the mask ; for my 
name, I believe, is Robert Jones, and I was born some 
where in the city of Fum-Fudge. 

The first action of my life was the taking hold of my nose with 
both hands. My mother saw this and called me a genius : my 
father wept for joy and presented me with a treatise on Nosology. 
This I mastered before I was breeched. 

I now began to feel my way in the science, and soon came to 
understand that, .provided a man had a nose sufficiently conspi 
cuous, he might, by merely following it, arrive at a Lionship. 
But my attention was not confined to theories alone. Every morn 
ing I gave my proboscis a couple of pulls and swallowed a half 
dozen of drams. 

: When I came of age my father asked me, one day, if I would- 
step with him into his study. 

" My son," said he, when we were seated, " what is the chief end 
of your existence 1" 

" My father," I answered, " it is the study of Nosology." 

"And what, Robert," he inquired, "is Nosology]" 

" Sir," I said, " it is the Science of Noses." 

" And can you tell me," he demanded, " what is the meaning of 
a nose 1" 

" A nose, my father," I replied, greatly softened, " has been 
variously defined by about a thousand different authors." [Here 
I pulled out my watch.] " It is now noon or thereabouts we shall 
have time enough to get through with them all before midnight. 
To commence then : The nose, according to Bartholinus, is that 
protuberance that bump that excrescence that " 

" Will do, Robert," interrupted the good old gentleman. " I am 
thunderstruck at the extent of your information I am positively 
upon my soul." [Here lie closed his eyes and placed his hand 
upon his heart.] " Come here !" [Here he took me by the arm.] 



430 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

" Your education may now be considered as finished it is high 
time you should scuffle for yourself and you cannot do a better 
thing than merely follow your nose so so so " [Here he kicked 
me down stairs and out of the door] " so get out of my house, and 
God bless you !" 

As I felt within me the divine afflatus, I considered this accident 
rather fortunate than otherwise. I resolved to be guided by the 
paternal advice. I determined to follow my nose. I gave it a pull 
or two upon the spot, and wrote a pamphlet on Nosology forthwith. 

All Fum-Fudge was in an uproar. 

" Wonderful genius !" said the Quarterly. 

" Superb physiologist !" said the Westminster. 

" Clever fellow !" said the Foreign. 

" Fine writer !" said the Edinburgh. 

" Profound thinker !" said the Dublin. 

" Great man !" said Bentley. 

" Divine soul !" said Fraser. 

" One of us !" said Blackwood. 

" Who can he be V said Mrs. Bas-Bleu. 

" What can he be T said big Miss Bas-Bleu. 

" Where can he be V said little Miss Bas-Bleu. But I paid these 
people no attention whatever I just stepped into the shop of an 
artist. 

The Duchess of Bless-my-Soul was sitting for her portrait ; the 
Marquis of So-and-So was holding the Duchess s poodle; the Earl of 
This-and-That was flirting with her salts ; and his Koyal Highness 
of Touch-me-Not was leaning upon the back of her chair. 

I approached the artist and turned up my nose. 

" Oh, beautiful !" sighed her Grace. 

" Oh my !" lisped the Marquis. 

" Oh, shocking !" groaned the Earl. 

" Oh, abominable !" growled his Royal Highness. 

"What will you take for iU" asked the artist. 

" For his nose /" shouted her Grace. 

" A thousand pounds," said I, sitting down. 

" A thousand pounds V inquired the artist, musingly. 

" A thousand pounds," said I. 

" Beautiful !" said he, entranced. 

" A thousand pounds," said I. 

" Do you warrant it V he asked, turning the nose to the light. 



LIONIZING. 431 

" I do," said I, blowing it well. 

" Is it quite original V he inquired, touching it with reverence. 

" Humph !" said I, twisting it to one side. 

" Has no copy been taken V he demanded, surveying it through 
a microscope. 

" None," said I, turning it up. 

" Admirable /" he ejaculated, thrown quite off his guard by the 
beauty of the manoeuvre. 

" A thousand pounds," said I. 

" A thousand pounds 1" said he. 

" Precisely," said I. 

" A thousand pounds ?" said he. 

" Just so," said I. 

" You shall have them," said he. " What a piece of virtu /" So 
he drew me a cheque upon the spot, and took a sketch of my nose. 
I engaged rooms in Jermyn Street, and sent her Majesty the ninety- 
ninth edition of the " Nosology," with a portrait of the proboscis. 
That sad little rake, the Prince of Wales, invited me to dinner. 

We were all lions and recherches. 

There was a modern Platonist. He quoted Porphyry, lamblicus, 
Plotinus, Proclus, Hierocles, Maximus Tyrius, and Syrianus. 

There was a human-perfectibility man. He quoted Turgot, 
Price, Priestley, Condorcet, De Stael, and the " Ambitious Student 
in 111 Health." 

There was Sir Positive Paradox. He observed that all fools were 
philosophers, and that all philosophers were fools. 

There was /Estheticus Ethix. He spoke of fire, unity, and atoms; 
bi-part and pre-existent soul; affinity and discord; primitive intelli 
gence and homoomeria. 

There was Theologos Theology. He talked of Eusebius and 
Arianus ; heresy and the Council of Nice ; Puseyism and con-sub- 
stantialism ; Homousios and Homouioisios. 

There was Fricassee from the Kocher de Cancale. He mentioned 
Muriton of red tongue ; cauliflowers with veloute sauce ; veal a la 
St. Menehoult ; marinade a la St. Florentin ; and orange jellies en 
mosa iques. 

There was Bibulus O Bumper. He touched upon Latour and 
Markbriinnen ; upon Mousseux and Chambertin ; upon Richbourg 
and St. George; upon Haubrion, Leon ville, and Medoc; upon Barac 
and Preignac; upon Grave, upon Sauterne, upon Lafitte, and upon 



432 WORKS OP EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

St. Peray. He shook his head at Clos de Vougeot, and told, with 
his eyes shut, the difference between Sherry and Amontillado. 

There was Signer Tintontintino from Florence. He discoursed 
of Cimabue", Arpino, Carpaccio, and Argostino of the gloom of 
Caravaggio, of the amenity of Albano, of the colours of Titian, of 
the frows of Rubens, and of the waggeries of Jan Steen. 

There was the President of the Fum-Fudge University. He was 
of opinion that the moon was called Bendis in Thrace, Bubastis in 
Egypt, Dian in Rome, and Artemis in Greece. 

There was a Grand Turk from Stamboul. He could not help 
thinking that the angels were horses, cocks, and bulls ; that some 
body in the sixth heaven had seventy thousand heads ; and that 
the earth was supported by a sky-blue cow with an incalculable 
number of green horns. 

There was Delphinus Polyglott. He told us what had become of 
the eighty-three lost tragedies of .^Eschylus; of the fifty-four orations 
of Isseus ; of the three hundred and ninety-one speeches of Lysias; 
of the hundred and eighty treatises of Theophrastus ; of the eighth 
book of the conic sections of Apollonius ; of Pindar s hymns and 
dithyrambics; and of the five and forty tragedies of Homer Junior. 

There was Ferdinand Fitz-Fossillus Feltspar. He informed us 
all about internal fires and tertiary formations ; about aeriforms, 
fluidiforms, and solidif orms ; about quartz and marl ; about schist 
and schorl ; about gypsum and trap ; about talc and calc ; about 
blende and horn-blende; about mica-slate and pudding-stone; about 
cyanite and lepidolite ; about hsematite and tremolite ; about anti 
mony and calcedony; about manganese and whatever you please. 

There was myself. I spoke of myself ; of myself, of myself, of 
myself ; of Nosology, of my pamphlet, and of myself. I turned 
up my nose, and I spoke of myself. 

" Marvellous clever man !" said the Prince. 

" Superb !" said his guests : and next morning her Grace of 
Bless-my-Soul paid me a visit. 

" Will you go to Almack s, pretty creature 1" she said, tapping 
me under the chin. 

" Upon honour," said I. 

" Nose and all ?" she asked. 

"As I live," I replied. 

" Here then is a card, my life. Shall I say you mil be there V 

" Dear Duchess, with all my heart." 



LIONIZING. 433 

" Pshaw, no ! but with all your nose V 

" Every bit of it, my love," said I : so I gave it a twist or two, 
and found myself at Almack s. 

The rooms were crowded to suffocation. 

" He is coining !" said somebody on the staircase. 

" He is coining !" said some somebody farther up. 

" He is coming !" said somebody farther still. 

" He is come !" exclaimed the Duchess. " He is come, the little 
love !" and, seizing me firmly by both hands, she kissed me thrice 
upon the nose. 

A marked sensation immediately ensued. 

" Diavolo !" cried Count Capricornutti. 

" Dios guarda /" muttered Don Stiletto. 

" Mille tonnerres /" ejaculated the Prince de Grenouille. 

" Tousand teufel" growled the elector of Bluddennuff. 

It was not to be borne. I grew angry. 1 turned short upon 
Bluddennuff. 

" Sir !" said I to him, " you are a baboon !" 

"Sir," he replied, after a pause, " Donner und Blitzen /" 

This was all that could be desired. We exchanged cards. At 
Chalk Farm, the next morning, I shot off his nose, and then called 
upon my friends. 

" Bete" naid the first. 

" Fool !" said the second. 

" Dolt !" said the third. 

" Ass !" said the fourth. 

" Ninny !" s:;id the fifth. 

" Noodle !" said the sixth. 

" Be off !" said the seventh. 

At all this I felt mortified, and so called upon my father. 

" Father," I asked, " what is the chief end of my existence V 

" My son," he replied, " it is still the study of Nosology ; but in 
hitting the elector upon the nose, you have overshot your mark. 
You have a fine nose, it is true ; but then. Bluddennuff has none ! 
You are damned, and he has become the hero of the day. I grant 
you that in Fum Fudge the greatness of a lion is in proportion to 
the size of his proboscis ; but, good heavens ! there is no competing 
with a lion who has no proboscis at all." 

28 



WORK S OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

NEVER BET THE DEVIL YOUR HEAD, 

A TALE WITH A MORAL. 

| ON tal que las costumbres de un autor," says Don Thomas 
De Las Torres, in the preface to his " Amatory Poems," 
"sean puras y castas, importo muy poco que no sean 
igualmentes ever as sus obras" meaning, in plain English, that, pro 
vided the morals of an author are pure, personally, it signifies 
nothing what are the morals of his books. We presume that Don 
Thomas is now in Purgatory for the assertion. It would be a clever 
thing, too, in the way of poetical justice, to keep him there until 
his " Amatory Poems" get out of print, or are laid definitely upon 
the shelf through lack of readers. Every fiction should have a 
moral ; and, what is more to the purpose, the critics have dis 
covered that every fiction has. Philip Melancthon, some time ago, 
wrote a commentary upon the " Batraehomyomachia," and proved 
that the poet s object was to excite a distaste for sedition. Pierre 
La Seine, going a step farther, shows that the intention was to re 
commend to young men temperance in eating and drinking. Just 
so, too, Jacobus Hugo has satisfied himself that, by Euenis, Homer 
meant to insinuate John Calvin ; by Antinous, Martin Luther ; by 
the Lotophagi, Protestants in general ; and by the Harpies, the 
Dutch. Our more modern Scholiasts are equally acute. These 
fellows demonstrate a hidden meaning in "The Antediluvians," a 
parable in " Powhatan," new views in " Cock Robin," and trans 
cendentalism in " Hop O ^My Thumb." In short, it has been shown 
that no man can sit down to write without a very profound design. 
Thus to authors in general much trouble is spared. A novelist, for 
example, need have no care of his moral. It is there that is to 
say, it is somewhere and the moral and the critics can take care 
of themselves. When the proper time arrives, all that the gentle 
man intended, and all he did not intend, will be brought to light 
in the "Dial," or the " Down -Easter," together with all that he 
ought to have intended, and the rest that he clearly meant to 
intend : so that it will all come very straight in the end. 

There is no just ground, therefore, for the charge brought against 
me by certain ignoramuses that I have never written a moral tale 
or, in more precise words, a tale with a moral. They are not the 
critics predestined to bring me out, and develop rny morals ; that 



NEVER BET THE DEVIL YOUR HEAD. 435 

is the secret. By and by the " North American Quarterly Hum 
drum" will make them ashamed of their stupidity. In the mean 
time, by way of staying execution by way of mitigating the accu 
sations against me I .offer the sad history appended ; a history 
about whose obvious moral there can be no question whatever, since 
he who runs may read it in the large capitals which form the title 
of the tale. I should have credit for this arrangement a far wiser 
one than that of La Fontaine and others, who reserve the impres 
sion to be conveyed until the last moment, and thus sneak it in at 
the fag end of their fables. 

Defuncti injurid ne afficiantur was a law of the twelve tables, 
and De morluis nil nisi bonum is an excellent injunction even if 
the dead in question be nothing but dead small beer. It is not my 
design, therefore, to vituperate my deceased friend, Toby Dammit. 
He was a sad dog, it is true, and a dog s death it was that he died ; 
but he himself was not to blame for his vices. They grew out of 
a personal defect in his mother. She did her best in the way of 
flogging him while an infant for duties to her well-regulated mind 
were always pleasures, and babies, like tough steaks, or the modern 
Greek olive trees, are invariably the better for beating but, poor 
woman ! she had the misfortune to be left-handed, and a child 
flogged left-handedly had better be left unfloggecL The world re 
volves from right to left. It will not do to whip a baby from left 
to right. If each blow in the proper direction drives an evil pro 
pensity out, it follows that every thump in an opposite one knocks 
its quota of wickedness in. I was often present at Toby s chastise 
ments, and, even by the way in which he kicked, I could perceive 
that he was getting worse and worse every day. At last I saw, 
through the tears in my eyes, that there was no hope of the villain 
at all ; and, one day, when he had been cuffed until he grew so 
black in the face that one might have mistaken him for a little 
African, and no effect had been produced beyond that of making 
him wriggle himself into a fit, I could stand it no longer, but went 
down upon my knees forthwith, and, uplifting my voice, made pro 
phecy of his ruin. 

The fact is that his precocity in vice was awf nl. At five months 
of age he used to get into such passions that he was unable to arti 
culate. At six months I caught him gnawing a pack of cards. At 
seven months, he was in the constant habit of catching and kissing 
the female babies. At eight months, he peremptorily refused to 

28-2 



436 WORK S OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

put his signature to the temperance pledge. Thus he went on in 
creasing in iniquity, month after month, until, at the close of the 
first year, he not only insisted upon wearing moustaches, but had 
contracted a propensity for cursing and swearing, and for backing 
his assertions by bets. 

Through this latter most ungentlemanly practice, the ruin which 
I had predicted to Toby Dammit overtook him at last. The fashion 
had " grown with his growth, and strengthened with his strength," 
so that, when he came to be a man, he could scarcely utter a sen 
tence without interlarding it with a proposition to gamble. Not 
that he actually laid wagers no. I will do my friend the justice 
to say that he would as soon have laid eggs. With him the thing 
was a mere formula nothing more. His expressions on this head 
had no meaning attached to them whatever. They were simple, if 
not altogether innocent expletives imaginative phrases wherewith 
to round off a sentence. When he said, " I ll bet you so and so," 
nobody ever thought of taking him up ; but still I could not help 
thinking it my duty to put him down. The habit was an immoral 
one, and so I told him. It was a vulgar one this I begged him 
to believe. It was discountenanced by society here I said nothing 
but the truth. It was forbidden by act of Congress here I had 
not the slightest intention of telling a lie. I remonstrated but to 
no purpose. I demonstrated in vain. I entreated he smiled. 
I implored he laughed. I preached he sneered. I threatened 
he swore. I kicked him he called for the police. I pulled his 
nose he blew it, and offered to bet the Devil his head that I would 
not venture to try that experiment again. 

Poverty was another vice which the peculiar physical deficiency 
of Dammit s mother had entailed upon her son. He was detest 
ably poor ; and this was the reason, no doubt, that his expletive 
expressions about betting seldom took a pecuniary turn. I will 
not be bound to say that I ever heard him make use of such a 
figure of speech as " I ll bet you a dollar." It was usually " I ll bet 
you what you please," or " I ll bet you what you dare," or " I ll 
bet you a trifle," or else, more significantly still, " I ll bet the Devil 
my head." 

This latter form seemed to please him best : perhaps because it 
involved the least risk ; for Dammit had become excessively par 
simonious. Had any one taken him up, his head was small, and 
thus his loss would have been small too. But these are my own 



NEVER BET THE DEVIL YOUR HEAD. 437 

reflections, and I am by no means sure that I am right in attribut 
ing them to him. At all events the phrase in question grew daily 
in favour, notwithstanding the gross impropriety of a man betting 
his brains like bank-notes : but this was a point which my friend s 
perversity of disposition would not permit him to comprehend. 
In the end, he abandoned all other forms of wager, and gave him 
self up to " I ll bet tlie Devil my liead" with a pertinacity and 
exclusiveness of devotion that displeased not less than it surprised 
me. I am always displeased by circumstances for which I cannot 
account. Mysteries force a man to think, and so injure his health. 
The truth is, there was something in the air with which Mr. 
Dammit was wont to give utterance to his offensive expression 
something in his manner of enunciation which at first interested 
and afterwards made me very uneasy something which, for want 
of a more definite term at present, I must be permitted to call 
queer ; but which Mr. Coleridge would have called mystical, Mr. 
Kant pantheistical, Mr. Caiiyle twistical, and Mr. Emerson hyper- 
quizzitistical. I began not to like it at all. Mr. Dammit s soul 
was in a perilous state. I resolved to bring all my eloquence into 
play to save it. I vowed to serve him as St. Patrick, in the Irish 
chronicle, is said to have served the toad, that is to say, " awaken 
him to a sense of his situation." I addressed myself to the task 
forthwith. Once more I betook myself to remonstrance. Again 
I collected my energies for a final attempt at expostulation. 

When I had made an end of my lecture, Mr. Dammit indulged 
himself in some very equivocal behaviour. For some moments he 
remained silent, merely looking me inquisitively in the face. But 
presently he threw his head to one side, and elevated his eye 
brows to great extent. Then he spread out the palms of his 
hands and shrugged up his shoulders. Then he winked with the 
right eye. Then he repeated the operation with the left. Then 
he shut them both up very tight. Then he opened them both so 
very wide that I became seriously alarmed for the consequences. 
Then, applying his thumb to his nose, he thought proper to make 
an indescribable movement with the rest of his fingers. Finally, 
setting his arms akimbo, he condescended to reply. 

I can call to mind only the heads of his discourse. He would 
be obliged to me if I would hold my tongue. He wished none of 
my advice. He despised all my insinuations. He was old enough 
to take care of himself. Did I still think him baby Dammit ? 



438 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

Did I mean to say anything against his character 1 Did I intend 
to insult him? Was I a fool] Was my maternal parent aware, 
in a word, of my absence from the domiciliary residence v He 
would put this latter question to me as to a man of veracity, and he 
would bind himself to abide by my reply. Once more he would 
demand explicitly if my mother knew that I was out. My con 
fusion, he said, betrayed me, and he would be willing to bet the 
Devil his head that she did not. 

Mr. Dammit did not pause for my rejoinder. Turning upon his 
heel, he left my presence with undignified precipitation. It was 
well for him that he did so. My feelings had been wounded. 
Even my anger had been aroused, For once I would have taken 
him up upon his insulting wager. I would have won for the Arch- 
Enemy Mr. Dammit s little head for the fact is, my mamma ivas 
very well aware of my merely temporary absence from home. 

But Khoda she/a midehed Heaven gives relief as the Mus- 
sulmen say when you tread upon their toes. It was in pursuance 
of my duty that I had been insulted, and I bore the insult like a 
man. It now seemed to me, however, that I had done all that 
could be required of me, in the case of this miserable individual, 
and I resolved to trouble him no longer with my counsel, but to 
leave him to his conscience and himself. But although I forbore 
to intrude with my advice, I could not bring myself to give up his 
society altogether. I even went so far as to humour some of his 
less reprehensible propensities ; and there were times when I found 
myself lauding his wicked jokes, as epicures do mustard, with tears 
in my eyes : so profoundly did it grieve me to hear his evil talk. 

One fine clay, having strolled out together, arm in arm, our route 
led us in the direction of a river. There was a bridge, and we 
resolved to cross it. It was roofed over, by way of protection from 
the weather, and the archway having but few windows, was thus 
very uncomfortably dark. As we entered the passage, the contrast 
between the external glare, and the interior gloom, struck heavily 
upon my spirits. Not so upon those of the unhappy Dammit, who 
offered to bet the Devil his head that I was hipped. He seemed 
to be in an unusual good humour. He was excessively lively so 
much so that I entertained I know not what of uneasy suspicion. 
It is not impossible that he was affected with the transcendentals. 
I am not well enough versed, however, in the diagnosis of this 
disease to speak with decision upon the point ; and unhappily 



NEVER BET THE DEVIL TOUR HEAD. 439 

there were none of my friends of the " Dial " present. I suggest 
the idea, nevertheless, because of a certain species of austere 
Merry- Andrewism which seemed to beset my poor friend, and 
caused him to make quite a Tom-Fool of himself. Nothing would 
serve him but wriggling and skipping about under and over every 
thing that came in his way ; now shouting out, and now lisping 
out, all manner of odd little and big words, yet preserving the 
gravest face in the world all the time. I really could not make up 
my mind whether to kick or to pity him. At length, having 
passed nearly across the bridge, we Approached the termination of 
the foot way, when our progress was impeded by a turn-stile of some 
height. Through this I made my way quietly, pushing it around 
as usual. But this turn would not serve the turn of Mr. Dammit. 
He insisted upon leaping the stile, and said he could cut a pigeon- 
wing over it in the air. Now this, conscientiously speaking, I did 
not think he could do. The best pigeon-winger over all kinds of 
style, was my friend Mr. Carlyle, and as I knew lie could not do it, I 
would not believe that it could be done by Toby Dammit. I there 
fore told him, in so many words, that he was a braggadocio, and 
could not do what he said. For this, I had reason to be sorry 
afterwards ; for he straightway offered to bet the Devil his head 
that he could. .. 

I was about to reply, notwithstanding my previous resolutions, 
with some remonstrance against his impiety, when I heard, close 
at my elbow, a slight cough, which sounded very much like the 
ejaculation " ahem !" I started, and looked about me in surprise. 
My glance at length fell into a nook of the framework of the 
bridge, and upon the figure of a little lame old gentleman of ven 
erable aspect. Nothing could be more reverend than his whole 
appearance ; for he not only had on a full suit of black, but his 
shirt was perfectly clean and the collar turned very neatly down 
over a white cravat, while his hair was parted in front like a girl s. 
His hands were clasped pensively together over his stomach, and 
his two eyes were carefully rolled up into the top of his head. 

Upon observing him more closely, I perceived that he wore a 
black silk apron over his small clothes ; and this was a thing which 
I thought very odd. Before I had time to make any remark, how 
ever, -upon so singular a circumstance, he interrupted me with a 
second " ahem /" 

To this observation I was not immediately prepared to reply. 



440 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

The fact is, remarks of this laconic nature are nearly unanswerable. 
I have known a Quarterly Review non-plussed by the word 
"Fudge/" I am not ashamed to say, therefore, that I turned to 
Mr. Dammit for assistance. 

"Dammit," said I, "what are you about? don t you hear? 
the gentleman says ahem !\ " I looked sternly at my friend 
while I thus addressed him ; for to say the truth, I felt particularly 
puzzled, and when a man is particularly puzzled he must knit his 
brows and look savage, or else he is pretty sure to look like a fool. 

" Dammit," observed I although this sounded very much like 
an oath, than which nothing was farther from my thoughts 
"Dammit," I suggested " the gentleman says ahem/ " 

I do not attempt to defend my remark on the score of pro 
fundity ; I did not think it profound myself ; but I have noticed 
that the effect of our speeches is not always proportionate with 
their importance in our own eyes ; and if I had shot Mr. D. through 
and through with a Paixhan bomb, or knocked him in the head 
with the " Poets and Poetry of America," he could hardly have been 
more discomfited than when I addressed him with those simple 
words "Dammit, what are you about 1 ? don t you hear? the 
gentleman says ahem / " 

" You don t say so 1" gasped he at length, after turning more 
colours than a pirate runs up, one after the other, when chased by 
a man-of-war. " Are you quite sure he said that ? Well, at all 
events, I am in for it now, and may as well put a bold face upon 
the matter. Here goes, then ahem J" 

At this the little old gentleman seemed pleased God only 
knows why. He left his station at the nook of the bridge, limped 
forward with a gracious air, took Dammit by the hand and shook 
it cordially, looking all the while straight up in his face with an 
air of the most unadulterated benignity which it is possible for the 
mind of man to imagine; 

" I am quite sure you will win it, Dammit," said he with the 
frankest of all smiles, " but we are obliged to have a trial you 
know, for the sake of mere form." 

" Ahem !" replied my friend, taking off his coat with a deep sigh, 
tying a pocket-handkerchief around his waist, and producing an 
unaccountable alteration in his countenance by twisting up his 
eyes, and bringing down the corners of his mouth "ahem!" 
And " ahem," said he again, after a pause ; and not another word 



NEVER BET THE DEVIL VOUR PIE AD. 441 

more than "ahem!" did I ever know him to say after that. 
" Aha !" thought I, without expressing myself aloud " this is 
quite a remarkable silence on the part of Toby Dammit, and is 
no doubt a consequence of his verbosity upon a previous occasion. 
One extreme induces another. I wonder if he has forgotten the 
many unanswerable questions which he propounded to me so 
fluently on the day when I gave him my last lecture? At all 
events, he is cured of the transcendentals." 

"Ahem !" here replied Toby, just as if he had been reading my 
thoughts, and looking like a very old sheep ki a reverie. 

The old gentleman now took him by the arm, and led him more 
into the shade of the bridge a few paces back from the turnstile. 
" My good fellow," said he, " I make it a point of conscience to 
allow you this much run. Wait here, till I take my place by the 
stile, so that I may see whether you go over it handsomely, and 
transcendentally, and don t omit any flourishes of the pigeon- wing. 
A mere form, you know. I will say, one, two, three, and away/ 
Mind you start at the word * away. ;J Here he took his position 
by the stile, paused a moment as if in profound reflection, then 
looked up and, I thought, smiled very slightly, then tightened the 
strings of his apron, then took a long look at Dammit, and finally 
gave the word as agreed upon 

One two three and away. 

Punctually at the word " away," my poor friend set off in a 
strong gallop. The stile was not very high, like Mr. Lord s- nor 
yet very low, like that of Mr. Lord s reviewers, but upon the 
whole I made sure that he would clear it. And then what if he 
did not 1 ah, that was the question what if he did not ] " What 
right," said I, " had the old gentleman to make any other gentle 
man jump 1 The little old dot-and-carry-one ! who is he ? If he 
asks me to jump, I won t do it, that s flat, and I don t care who the 
devil he is." The bridge, as I say, was arched and covered in, in a 
very ridiculous manner, and there was a most uncomfortable echo 
about it at all times an echo which I never before so particularly 
observed as when I uttered the four last words of my remark. 

But what I said, or what I thought, or what I heard, occupied 
only an instant. In less than five seconds] from his starting, my 
poor Toby had taken the leap. I saw him run nimbly, and spring 
grandly from the floor of the bridge, cutting the most awful 



442 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN Pd. 

flourishes with his legs as he went up. I saw him high in the aif> 
pigeon-winging it to admiration just over the top of the stile ; and 
of course I thought it an unusually singular thing that he did not 
continue to go over. But the whole leap was the affair of a 
moment, and, before I had a chance to make any profound reflec 
tions, down came Mr. Dammit on the flat of his back, on the same 
side of the stile from which he had started. At the same instant 
I saw the old gentleman limping off at the top of his speed, having 
caught and wrapped up in his apron something that fell heavily 
into it from the darkness of the arch just over the turnstile. At 
all this I was much astonished ; but I had no leisure to think, for 
Mr. Dammit lay particularly still, and I concluded that his feelings 
had been hurt, and that he stood in need of my assistance. I 
hurried up to him and found that he had received what might be 
termed a serious injury. The truth is, he had been deprived of 
his head, which after a close search I could not find anywhere ; so 
I determined to take him home, and send for the homoeopathists. 
In the meantime a thought struck me, and I threw open an adja 
cent window of the bridge, when the sad truth flashed upon me at 
once. About five feet just above the top of the turnstile, and 
crossing the arch of the footpath, so as to constitute a brace, there 
extended a great iron bar, lying with its breath horizontally, and 
forming one of a series that served to strengthen the structure 
throughout its extent. With the edge of this brace it appeared 
evident that the neck of my unfortunate friend had come precisely 
in contact. 

He did not long survive his terrible loss. The homoeopathists did 
not give him little enough physic, and what little they did give him 
he hesitated to take. So in the end he grew worse, and at length 
died, a lesson to all riotous livers. I bedewed his grave with my 
tears, worked a bar sinister on his family escutcheon, and for the 
general expenses of his funeral sent in my very moderate bill to 
the transcendentalists. The scoundrels refused to pay it, so I had 
Mr. Dammit dug up at once, and sold him for dogs meat. 



SOME WORDS WITH A MUMMY. 



SOME WORDS WITH A MUMMY, 

HE symposium of the preceding evening had been a little 
too much for my nerves. I had a wretched headache, and 
was desperately drowsy. Instead of going out, therefore, 
to spend the evening, as I had proposed, it occurred to me that I 
could not do a wiser thing than just eat a mouthful of supper and 
go immediately to bed. 

A light supper, of course. I am exceedingly fond of Welsh 
rabbit. More than a pound at once, however, may not at all times 
be advisable. Still, there can be no material objection to two. 
And really between two and three, there is merely a single unit of 
difference. I ventured, perhaps, upon four. My wife will have it 
five ; but, clearly, she has confounded two very distinct affairs. 
The abstract number, five, I am willing to admit ; but, concretely, 
it has reference to bottles of brown stout, without which, in the 
way of condiment, Welsh rabbit is to be eschewed. 

Having thus concluded a frugal meal and donned my night-cap, 
with the serene hope of enjoying it till noon the next day, I placed 
my head upon the pillow, and through the aid of a capital con 
science, fell into a profound slumber forthwith. 

But when were the hopes of humanity fulfilled ] I could not 
have completed my third snore when there came a furious ringing 
at the street-door bell, and then an impatient thumping at the 
knocker, which awakened me at once. In a minute afterward, 
and while I was still rubbing my eyes, my wife thrust in my face 
a note, from my old friend, Doctor Ponnonner. It ran thus : 

"Come to me, by all means, my dear good friend, as soon as you 
receive this. Come and help us to rejoice. At last, by long persevering 
diplomacy, I have gained the assent of the Directors of the City Museum, 
to my examination of the Mummy you know the one I mean. I have 
permission to unswathe it, and open it, if desirable. A few friends only 
will be present you, of course. The Mummy is now at my house, and 
we shall begin to unroll it at eleven to-night. 

"Yours ever, "PONNONNER." 

By the time I had reached the " Ponnonner," it struck me that 
I was as wide awake as a man need be. I leaped out of bed in 
an ecstasy, overthrowing all in my way ; dressed myself with a 
rapidity truly marvellous ; and set off. at the top of my speed, for 
the doctor s. 



444 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

There I found a very eager company assembled. They had been 
awaiting me with much impatience ; the Mummy was extended 
upon the dining-table ; and the moment I entered, its examination 
was commenced. 

It was one of a pair brought, several years previously, by Captain 
Arthur Sabretash, a cousin of Ponnonner s, from a tomb near 
Eleithias, in the Lybian Mountains, a considerable distance above 
Thebes on the Nile. The grottoes at this point, although less 
magnificent than the Theban sepulchres, are of higher interest, on 
account of affording more numerous illustrations of the private life 
of the Egyptians. The chamber from which our specimen was 
taken, was said to be very rich in such illustrations the walls being 
completely covered with fresco-paintings and bas-reliefs, while 
statues, vases, and Mosaic work of rich patterns, indicated the vast 
wealth of the deceased. 

The treasure had been deposited in the Museum precisely in the 
same condition in which Captain Sabretash had found it ; that is 
to say, the coffin had not been disturbed. For eight years it had 
thus stood, subject only externally to public inspection. We had 
now, therefore, the complete Mummy at our disposal ; and to those 
who are aware how very rarely the unransacked antique reaches 
our shores, it will be evident, at once, that we had great reason to 
congratulate ourselves upon our good fortune. 

Approaching the table, I saw on it a large box, or case, nearly 
seven feet long, and perhaps three feet wide, by two feet and a 
half deep. It was oblong not coffin-shaped. The material was 
at first supposed to be the wood of the sycamore (platanm), but 
upon cutting into it, we found it to be pasteboard, or, more pro 
perly, papier-mdche, composed of papyrus. It was thickly orna 
mented with paintings, representing funeral scenes, and other 
mournful subjects interspersed among which, in every variety of 
position, were certain series of hieroglyphical characters, intended, 
no doubt, for the name of the departed. By good luck, Mr. Gliddon 
formed one of our party ; and he had no difficulty in translating 
the letters, which were simply phonetic, and represented the 
word, Allamistakeo. 

We had some difficulty in getting this case open without injury ; 
but, having at length accomplished the task, we came to a second, 
coffin-shaped, and very considerably less in size than the exterior 



SOME WORDS WITH A MUMMY. 445 

one, but resembling it precisely in every other respect. The interval 
between the two was filled with resin, which had, in some degree, 
defaced the colours of the interior box. 

Upon opening this latter, (which we did quite easily,) we arrived 
at a third case, also coffin-shaped, and varying from the second one 
in no particular, except in that of its material, which was cedar, 
and still emitted the peculiar and highly aromatic odour of that 
wood. Between the second and the third case there was no interval 
the one fitting accurately within the other. 

Removing the third case, we discovered and took out the body 
itself. We had expected to find it, as usual, enveloped in frequent 
rolls or bandages of linen ; but, in place of these, we found a sort 
of sheath, made of papyrus, and coated with a layer of plaster, 
thickly gilt and painted. The paintings represented subjects con 
nected with the various supposed duties of the soul, and its presen 
tation to different divinities, with numerous identical human 
figures, intended, very probably, as portraits of the persons em 
balmed. Extending from head to foot, was a columnar, or per 
pendicular inscription, in phonetic hieroglyphics, giving again his 
name and titles, and the names and titles of his relations. 

Around the neck thus ensheathed, was a collar of cylindrical 
glass beads, diverse in colour, and so arranged as to form images 
of deities, of the scarabaeus, etc., with the winged globe. Around 
the small of the waist was a similar collar or belt 

Stripping off the papyrus, we found the flesh in excellent preser 
vation, with no perceptible odour. The colour was reddish. The 
skin was hard, smooth, and glossy. The teeth and hair were in 
good condition. The eyes (it seemed) had been removed, arid glass 
ones substituted, which were very beautiful, and wonderfully life 
like, with the exception of somewhat too determined a stare. The 
fingers and the nails were brilliantly gilded. 

Mr. Gliddon was of opinion, from the redness of the epidermis, 
that the embalmment had been effected altogether by asphaltum . 
but, on scraping the surface with a steel instrument, and throwing 
into the fire some of the powder thus obtained, the flavour of cam 
phor and other sweet-scented gums became apparent. 

We searched the corpse very carefully for the usual openings 
through which the entrails are extracted, but, to our surprise, we 
could discover none. No member of the party was at that period 
aware that entire or unopened mummies are not unfrequently met. 



446 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

The brain it was customary to withdraw through the nose ; the 
intestines through an incision in the side ; the body was then 
shaved, washed, and salted ; then laid aside for several weeks, when 
the operation of embalming, properly so called, began. 

As no trace of an opening could be found, Doctor Ponnonner 
was preparing his instruments for dissection, when I observed that 
it was then past two o clock. Hereupon it was agreed to postpone 
the internal examination until the next evening ; and we were 
about to separate for the present, when some one suggested an 
experiment or two with the Voltaic pile. 

The application of electricity to a mummy three or four thousand 
years old at the least, was an idea, if not very sage, still sufficiently 
original, and we all caught it at once. About one-tenth in earnest 
and nine-tenths in jest, we arranged a battery in the doctor s study, 
and conveyed thither the Egyptian. 

It was only after much trouble that we succeeded in laying bare 
some portions of the temporal muscle which appeared of less stony 
rigidity than other parts of the frame, but which, as we had antici 
pated, of course, gave no indication of galvanic susceptibility when 
brought in contact with the wire. This, the first trial, indeed, 
seemed decisive, and, with a hearty laugh at our own absurdity, 
we were bidding each other good night, when my eyes, happening 
to fall upon those of the Mummy, were there immediately riveted 
in amazement. My brief glance, in fact, had sufficed to assure me 
that the orbs which we had all supposed to be glass, and which 
were originally noticeable for a certain wild stare, were now so far 
covered by the lids, that only a small portion of the tunica albu- 
ginea remained visible. 

With a shout I called attention to the fact, and it became imme 
diately obvious to all. 

I cannot say that I was alarmed at the phenomenon, because 
" alarmed" is, in my case, not exactly the word. It is possible, 
however, that, but for the brown stout, I might have been a little 
nervous. As for the rest of the company, they really made no 
attempt at concealing the downright fright which possessed them. 
Doctor Ponnonner was a man to be pitied. Mr. Gliddon, by some 
peculiar process, rendered himself invisible. Mr. Silk Buckingham > 
I fancy, will scarcely be so bold as to deny that he made his way, 
upon all fours, under the table. 

After the first shock of astonishment, however, we resolved, as a, 



SOME WORDS WITH A MUMMY. 447 

matter of course, upon farther experiment forthwith. Our opera 
tions were now directed against the great toe of the right foot. We 
made an incision over the outside of the exterior os sesamoideum 
pollicis pedis, and thus got at the root of the abductor muscle. 
He-adjusting the battery, we now applied the fluid to the bisected 
nerves, when, with a movement of exceeding life-likeness, the 
Mummy first drew up its right knee so as to bring it nearly in 
contact with the abdomen, and then, straightening the limb with 
inconceivable force, bestowed a kick upon Doctor Ponnonner, which 
had the effect of discharging that gentleman, like an arrow from a 
catapult, through a window into the street below. 

We rushed out en masse to bring in the mangled remains of the 
victim, but had the happiness to meet him upon the staircase, 
coming up in an unaccountable hurry, brimfull of the most ardent 
philosophy, and more than ever impressed with the necessity of 
prosecuting our experiments with rigour and with zeal. 

It was by his advice, accordingly, that we made, upon the spot, 
a profound incision into the tip of the subject s nose, while the 
doctor himself, laying violent hands upon it, pulled it into vehe 
ment contact with the wire. 

Morally and physically figuratively and literally was the effect 
electric. In the first place, the corpse opened its eyes, and winked 
very rapidly for several minutes, as does Mr. Barnes in the panto 
mime ; in the second place, it sneezed ; in the third, it sat upon 
end ; in the fourth, it shook its fist in Doctor Ponnonner s face ; in 
the fifth, turning to Messieurs Gliddon and Buckingham, it ad 
dressed them, in very capital Egyptian, thus : 

" I must say. gentlemen, that I am as much surprised as I am 
mortified, at your behaviour. Of Doctor Ponnonner nothing better 
was to be expected. He is a poor little fat fool who knoivs no bet 
ter. I pity and forgive him. But you, Mr. Gliddon and you, 
Silk who have travelled and resided in Egypt until one might 
imagine you to the manor born you, I say, who have been so much 
among us that you speak Egyptian fully as well, I think, as you 
write your mother tongue you, whom I have always been led to 
regard as the firm friend of the mummies I really did anticipate 
more gentlemanly conduct from you. What am I to think of your 
standing quietly by and seeing me thus unhandsomely used? 
What am I to suppose by your permitting Tom, Dick, and Harry 
to strip me of my coffins, and my clothes, in this wretchedly cold 



448 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE, 

climate ! In what light (to come to the point) am I to regard your 
aiding and abetting that miserable little villain, Doctor Ponnonner, 
in pulling me by the nose V 

It will be taken for granted, no doubt, that upon hearing this 
speech under the circumstances, we all either made for the door, or 
fell into violent hysterics, or went off in a general swoon. One of 
these three things was, I say, to be expected. Indeed each and all 
of these lines of conduct might have been very plausibly pursued. 
And, upon my word, I am at a loss to know how or why it was 
that we pursued neither the one nor the other. But, perhaps, the 
true reason is to be sought in the spirit of the age, which proceeds 
by the rule of contraries altogether, and is now usually admitted 
as the solution of everything in the way of paradox and impos 
sibility. Or perhaps, after all, it was only the Mummy s exceed 
ingly natural and matter-of-course air that divested his words of 
the terrible. However this may be, the facts are clear, and no 
member of our party betrayed any very particular trepidation, or 
seemed to consider that anything had gone very especially wrong. 

For my part I was convinced it was all right, and merely stepped 
aside, out of the range of the Egyptian s fist. Doctor Ponnonner 
thrust his hands into his breeches pockets, looked hard at the 
Mummy, and grew excessively red in the face. Mr. Gliddon 
stroked his whiskers and drew up the collar of his shirt. Mr. 
Buckingham hung down his head, and put his right thumb into 
the left corner of his mouth. 

The Egyptian regarded him with a severe countenance for some 
minutes, and at length, with a sneer, said : 

" Why don t you speak, Mr. Buckingham 1 Did you hear what 
I asked you, or not 1 Do take your thumb out of your mouth !" 

Mr. Buckingham, hereupon, gave a slight start, took his right 
thumb out of the left corner of his mouth, and, by way of indem 
nification, inserted his left thumb in the right corner of the aperture 
above-mentioned. 

Not being able to get an answer from Mr. B., the figure turned 
peevishly to Mr. Gliddon, and, in a peremptory tone, demanded in 
general terms what we all meant. 

Mr. Gliddon replied at great length, in phonetics ; and but for 
the deficiency of American printing-offices in hieroglyphical type, 
it would afford me much pleasure to record here, in the original, 
the whole of his very excellent speech. 



SOME WORDS WITH A MUMMY. 449 

I may as well take this occasion to remark, that all the subse 
quent conversation in which the Mummy took a part, was carried 
on in primitive Egyptian, through the medium (so far as concerned 
myself and other untravelled members of the company) through 
the medium, I say, of Messieurs Gliddon and Buckingham, as 
interpreters. These gentlemen spoke the mother-tongue of the 
mummy with inimitable fluency and grace ; but I could not help 
observing that (owing, no doubt, to the introduction of images 
entirely modern, and, of course, entirely novel to the stranger,) the 
two travellers were reduced, occasionally, to the employment of 
sensible forms for the purpose of conveying a particular meaning. 
Mr. Gliddon, at one period, for example, could not make the 
Egyptian comprehend the term " politics," until he sketched upon 
the wall, with a bit of charcoal, a little carbuncle-nosed gentleman, 
out at elbows, standing upon a stump, with his left leg drawn back, 
his right arm thrown forward, with his fist shut, the eyes rolled up 
toward heaven, and the mouth open at an angle of ninety degrees. 
Just in the same way Mr. Buckingham failed to convey the abso 
lutely modern idea, " whig," until, (at Doctor Ponnonner s sug 
gestion,) he grew very pale in the face, and consented to take 
off his own. 

It will be readily understood that Mr. Gliddon s discourse turned 
chiefly upon the vast benefits accruing to science from the unrolling 
and disembowelling of mummies ; apologizing, upon this score, for 
any disturbance that might have been occasioned him, in particular, 
the individual mummy called Allamistakeo ; and concluding with 
a mere hint (for it could scarcely be considered more), that, as these 
little matters were now explained, it might be as well to proceed 
with the investigation intended. Here Doctor Ponnonner made 
ready his instruments. 

In regard to the latter suggestions of the orator, it appears that 
Allamistakeo had certain scruples of conscience, the nature of 
which I did not distinctly learn; but he expressed himself satisfied 
with the apologies tendered, and, getting down from the table, shook 
hands with the company all round. 

When this ceremony was at an end, we immediately busied our 
selves in repairing the damages which our subject had sustained 
from the scalpel. We sewed up the wound in his temple, bandaged 
Jhis foot, and applied a square inch of black plaster to the tip of his 
Inose. 

29 



450 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOE. 

It was now observed that the Count (this was the title, it seems, 
of Allamistakeo), had a slight fit of shivering no doubt from the 
cold. The doctor immediately repaired to his wardrobe, and soon 
returned with a black dress coat, made in Jennings best manner, 
a pair of sky-blue plaid pantaloons with straps, a pink gingham 
chemise, a napped vest of brocade, a white sack overcoat, a walking 
cane with a hook, a hat with no brim, patent-leather boots, straw- 
coloured kid gloves, an eye-glass, a pair of whiskers, and a water 
fall cravat. Owing to the disparity of size between the Count and 
the doctor (the proportion being as two to one), there was some little 
difficulty in adjusting these habiliments upon the person of the 
Egyptian ; but when all was arranged, he might have been said to 
be dressed. Mr. Gliddon, therefore, gave him his arm, and led him 
to a comfortable chair by the fire, while the doctor rang the bell 
upon the spot and ordered a supply of cigars and wine. 

The conversation soon grew animated. Much curiosity was, of 
course, expressed in regard to the somewhat remarkable fact of 
Allamistakeo s still remaining alive. 

" I should have thought," observed Mr. Buckingham, " that it is 
high time you were dead." 

" Why," replied the Count, very much astonished, " I am little 
more than seven hundred years old ! My father lived a thousand, 
and was by no means in his dotage when he died." 

Here ensued a brisk series of questions and computations, by 
means of which it became evident that the antiquity of the Mummy 
had been grossly misjudged. It had been five thousand and fifty 
years, and some months, since he had been consigned to the cata 
combs at Eleithias. 

" But my remark," resumed Mr. Buckingham, " had no reference 
to your age at the period of interment (I am willing to grant, in 
fact, that you are still a young man) ; and my allusion was to the 
immensity of time during which, by your own showing, you must 
have been done up in asphaltum." 

" In what]" said the Count. 

" In asphaltum," persisted Mr. B. 

" Ah, yes ; I have some faint notion of what you mean ; it 
might be made to answer, no doubt, but in my time we employed 
scarcely anything else than the Bichloride of Mercury." 

" But what we are especially at a loss to understand," said Doctor 
Ponnonner, "is, how it happens that, having been dead and buried 



SOME WORDS WITH A MUMMY. 451 

in Egypt five thousand years ago, you are here to-day all alive, and 
looking so delightfully well." 

" Had I been, as you say, dead" replied the Count, " it is more 
than probable that dead I should still be; for I perceive you are yet 
in the infancy of galvanism, and cannot accomplish with it what 
was a common thing among us in the old days. But the fact is, I 
fell into catalepsy, and it was considered by my best friends that I 
was either dead or should be ; they accordingly embalmed me at 
once I presume you are aware of the chief principle of the em 
balming process V 

" Why, not altogether." 

" Ah, I perceive ; a deplorable condition of ignorance ! Well, I 
cannot enter into details just now : but it is necessary to explain that 
to embalm (properly speaking), in Egypt, was to arrest indefinitely 
all the animal functions subjected to the process. I use the word 
animal in its widest sense, as including the physical not more 
than the moral and vital being. I repeat that the leading principle 
of embalmment consisted, with us, in the immediately arresting, and 
holding in perpetual abeyance, all the animal functions subjected 
to the process. To be brief, in whatever condition the individual 
was, at the period of embalmment, in that condition he remained. 
Now, as it is my good fortune to be of the blood of the Scarabceus, 
I was embalmed alive, as you see me at present." 

" The blood of the Scarabceus I" exclaimed Doctor Ponnonner. 

" Yes. The Scarabceus was the insignium, or the arms, of a 
very distinguished and very rare patrician family. To be of the 
blood of the Scarabceus, is merely to be one of that family of 
which the Scarabceus is the insignium, I speak figuratively." 

" But what has this to do with your being alive 1" 

" Why it is the general custom in Egypt, to deprive a corpse- 
before embalmment, of its bowels and brains; the race of Scarabcei 
alone did not coincide with the custom. Had I not been a Scara 
bceus, therefore, I should have been without bowels and brains ; 
and without either it is inconvenient to live." 

" I perceive that," said Mr. Buckingham ; " and T presume that 
all the entire mummies that come to hand are of the race of Scara 
bcei." 

" Beyond doubt." 

" I thought," said Mr. Gliddon, very meekly, " that the Scara 
bceus was one of the Egyptian gods." 

29 2 



45 2 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

" One of the Egyptian what ?" exclaimed the mummy starting to 
its feet. 

" Gods !" repeated the traveller. 

" Mr. Gliddon, I really am astonished to IIGPT you talk in this 
style," said the Count, resuming his seat. ; Xo nation upon the 
face of the earth has ever acknowledged more than one god. The 
Scarabceus, the Ibis, etc., were with us (as similar creatures have 
been with others), the symbols, or media, through which we offered 
worship to the Creator too august to be more directly approached." 

There was here a pause. At length the colloquy was renewed 
by Doctor Ponnonner. 

" It is not improbable, then, from what you have explained," said 
he, "that among the catacombs near the Nile, there may exist other 
mummies of the Scarabseus tribe, in a condition of vitality." 

" There can be no question of it," replied the Count ; " all the 
Scaraboei embalmed accidentally while alive, are alive. Even some 
of those purposely so embalmed, may have been overlooked by their 
executors, and still remain in the tombs." 

" Will you be kind enough to explain," I said, " what you mean 
by purposely so embalmed V " 

" With great pleasure," answered the Mummy, after surveying 
me leisurely through his eye-glass for it was the first time I had 
ventured to address him a direct question. 

" With great pleasure," he said. " The usual duration of man s 
life, in my time, was about eight hundred years. Few men died, 
unless by most extraordinary accident, before the age of six hun 
dred ; few lived longer than a decade of centuries ; but eight were 
considered the natural term. After the discovery of the embalming 
principle, as I have already described it to you, it occurred to our 
philosophers that a laudable curiosity might be gratified, and, at 
the same time, the interests of science much advanced, by living 
this natural term in instalments. In the case of history, indeed, 
experience demonstrated that something of this kind was indis 
pensable. An historian, for example, having attained the age of 
five hundred, would write a book with great labour and then get 
himself carefully embalmed ; leaving instructions to his executors 
pro tern., that they should cause him to be revivified after the lapse 
of a certain period say five or six hundred years. Resuming 
existence at the expiration of this time, he would invariably find 
his great work converted into a species of hap-hazard note-book 



SOME WORDS WITH A MUMMY. 453 

that is to say, into a kind of literary arena for the conflicting guesses, 
riddles, and personal squabbles of whole herds of exasperated com 
mentators. These guesses, etc., which passed under the name of 
annotations, or emendations, were found so completely to have 
enveloped, distorted, and overwhelmed the text, that the author 
had to go about with a lantern to discover his own book. When 
discovered, it was never worth the trouble of the search. After re 
writing it throughout, it was regarded as the bounden duty of the 
historian to set himself to work, immediately, in correcting, from 
his own private knowledge and experience, the traditions of the 
day concerning the epoch at which he had originally lived. Now 
this process of re-scription and personal rectification, pursued by